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12 November 2010

Tough Guy

I gave someone the finger today in my car. I held it up proudly, wagged it back and forth a bit, slowly, like a wave. The gesticulatory (first I typed "gesticular" but apparently that's not a word) equivalent of a sing-song fuckyou. In fairness to me (for such displays are decidedly not my style -- I'm occasionally accused at work of being an "avoider"), my target fired first, and I was only imitating his own style with the slow wave. Let's back up a bit.

If you must drink such a revolting
amount of soda, please at least find a  
trash receptacle when you're done.
On the way to work this morning, I pulled up behind a black Chrysler 300 with his gas cap hanging off and was considering the best way to signal the driver to alert him when I watched a large big gulp cup fly from the driver's side window, right into the middle of 15th Avenue. Littering sends me into unspeakable rage. It's all I can do to resist ramming a car when I see the driver drop a gum wrapper out the window; I get apoplectic when I see a pedestrian toss an ATM receipt onto the sidewalk. And this...this was much worse. If the crime were measured simply by the size and weight of the refuse, we're talking orders of magnitude worse than a gum wrapper. Not to mention the relative biodegradability. And this was like 2 blocks from my house.  That's my neighborhood, man.  Cups go in cup holders until you can dispose of them properly. I decided to let his gas cap dangle.

I remained behind him on my way to the parkway, and a few minutes later I found myself sitting at a green light behind him, while he fiddled with his cell phone. So I honked. I let my Yaris's horn (not as intimidating as I'd have liked, but you go to war with the army you've got) express, shrilly, my displeasure for a good 3 seconds. I watched him look up at me in his rearview mirror, spite obvious on his face although I could only see a narrow slice of it in his mirror and much of that was obscured by dark glasses, and then came the wagging finger. Without thinking, and with a defiant grin, I returned it. He turned right, I went straight, and went about congratulating myself for such a macho display.

I turned right at the next light and found him sitting at the light waiting to go the same way I was. Apparently he gets to the highway by turning right then left one block earlier than I do. The intersection we were at is more complicated than your average one, from a traffic light standpoint, so we had plenty of time, with neither of us able to go anywhere, to just stare at each other. And man, he was huge. And mean looking. Bald. If you've seen The Wire, he looked a bit like Herc. Only bigger.

So then I spent about 60 seconds cursing myself for thinking I was a tough guy, trying not to look scared and surreptitiously locking my car door. And then the light turned green for him and he went, and then the line turned green for me and I did. And then I ended up right behind him in slow traffic on the Belt Parkway for a couple miles, vacillating between rage and fear. And then I came home 10 hours later and spent half an hour writing about it for no good reason.

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