Sometime or another in this blog, the matter of how I drive has to come up. It's all because I get blank stares when I try to explain my theory of "defensive driving is NOT the paranoid driving that is in practice today" in real life. No one really gets it. Here I can blather on about how other people's perception of my driving is usually in direct opposition to my perception of my driving. I heard they have bumper stickers that say, "I drive like a Cullen" and that is me! I am always in a hurry and usually pretty intolerant of others' indecisive behavior while driving. That being said, I do consider myself skillful and alert, and sometimes even generous and considerate.
The other day on Shelbyville Road, I was not in Zen driving mode, rather I was in "I gotta survive this insane traffic" mode. I assertively nudged my way in between two cars to move to the right lane, so I could turn into Whole Foods. The man behind me nudged back, closing the space between us. I nudged forward anyway, and this is where things got tricky.
He proceeded, in his HUGE new at least $40000 truck, to FOLLOW me. He followed me as I sat in more traffic throughout the parking lot, and circled several times around to find a space almost back to Taco Bell. In other words, he had a window of time to cool off, and apparently he had a window of time anyway, if he had time to parent/police every driver who cut someone off on Shelbyville Road, as he was doing to me. Yes, I was freaked out. He was older and looked like the Charlton Heston-loving type. And I have seen some crazy things...I saw someone get out of their car at a stoplight once to go to the car behind him and kick the living daylights out of it. The car he kicked responded by backing up and then screeching forward into the kicker's car. Yikes.
So anyway, this guy follows me as I walk toward the store, and I was telling myself "don't respond, don't respond" and I did not respond. He started yelling at me, of course, calling me names, but when he said "my kid got killed because of drivers like you!!!" I paid attention inside.
Oh. This is where it gets serious and very, very sad. I knew then I had nothing to do with why he was so inappropriately angry. People cut people off all the time on the road, but they don't necessarily follow those drivers around to yell at them. I ended up feeling sorry for him. He lost a child was so grieved he was willing to take out his anger on total strangers. He lost a child, which is the worst thing that could happen to anyone.
Not sure that there is a message in this post, other than a commentary on where my humanity intersected with someone else's.