I started off my commute as normal. I have to leave my house ten minutes earlier than I really should, because there’s a problematic traffic pattern in town that turns the one stoplight in our rural area into a gridlocked Los Angeles highway come 7 a.m. If I leave ten minutes early, I’ll get through the light just fine, and wind up at work twenty minutes early. If I leave any later, I’ll wind up stuck in congested traffic hell, and wind up twenty minutes late for my job. You see? So I was out the door early.
As I approached the knotty intersection, I could see traffic already backing up. I could also see one lone car, timidly poking its nose out of a side street. There was no way she was turning left into her intended lane for the next forty minutes, unless someone let her in.
I was feeling magnanimous. I tapped my brakes, flickered my lights at her, and gave her a wave. “Come on in!” that wave said. “I’m a decent and honorable person.” She came in. I had another brief thought: Wait. Where’s my thank-you wave?
Her unbelievable rudeness at not offering the mandatory thank-you wave aside (maybe she was from Massachusetts), I inched forward once she was securely in the lane. We made it through the light, where she then proceeded to travel at 40 MPH on a 45 MPH road. I had done her a favor. This was how she was repaying me? I felt my temper rise, but decided that perhaps she was elderly and from Massachusetts, though I think even their senior-aged drivers move faster than old pokeybutt now meandering in front of me. We toddled along down the road.
Soon, we found ourselves inching up behind a school bus. Oh, for the love of—a SCHOOL BUS? Are you KIDDING me, God? My twenty-minute cushion of time to get to work was dwindling. Then I noticed a Jeep Cherokee, patiently waiting to turn left into our line of traffic.
The old lady from Massachusetts in front of me will certainly let him in, I thought. After all, we’re stopped for this school bus, and I let her in, so of course she’ll pay it forw--
The Boston grandma took one look at the Jeep and floored it, putting exactly 3/16ths of an inch between her hood and the bumper of school bus.
I was furious. This woman clearly had no humanity, not one ounce of common decency in her that would inspire her to do the right thing. Flames shot out of my eyeballs. I had no other choice. I flipped her the double bird.
The driver of the Jeep looked at me, then at Boston Grandma. He seemed puzzled. But as he turned back to me again . . . he seemed hopeful, too.
I’d learned my lesson. I turned my double bird on the Jeep and floored it, putting exactly 3/16ths of an inch between the nose of my car and Boston’s bumper. Clearly, being nice is an utter waste of time.
I made it to work with ten minutes to spare.