After 13ish years behind the wheel, I’m very proud of myself and how far I’ve come in dealing with road rage. Maybe in places like Montana and Mongolia, road rage doesn’t exist but in places like New Jersey it’s real. I come from a long line of Road Ragers so after achieving my license, I was unknowingly embarking down a road of, well, rage.
Rather than throw my entire raging lineage under the bus I’ll share just one story. It’s about my sister, Caroline, and it’s really more funny than OMG and it will explain my genetic pre-disposition to freaking out on the road.
Several years ago, Caroline called the Father Unit to chit-chat. He was unavailable so Caroline left him a voicemail. It went something like this:
“Hey Dad, it’s Caroline. Just calling to say hi and see what you’re up to. I’m going to WHAT THE F*CK!! YOU STUPID AS*HOLE!! ARE YOU F*CKING BLIND!! I AM GOING TO F*CKING MURDER YOU!! GOD DAMN SH*T!! SONOFABIT*H!!!!!”
The transition from normal, happy Caroline to insane, blood thirsty Caroline was as startling as it was hilarious. Of course I am exactly the same in this regard but as I mentioned, have come a long way (and so has Caroline).
I decided that having apoplectic explosions every time someone drives like an idiot is not good for my health and well being. Given the number of idiots behind the wheel, the frequency of my rage was quite high.
So, instead of flying into a vein-popping episode of madness, I’ve resorted to a much more enjoyable response. When I am treated to some jack ass driving like a moron, I:
- Take a deep breath and smile
- Let the jack ass finish their maneuver without a whisper of a beep
- Pull up beside the offender and gently honk to gain their attention
- Throw 2 big thumbs up, flash a wide-mouth court jester grin and yell something to the effect of “Say chap, you’re really GOOD at driving!”
80% of the time, the feeling of being mocked is instantly identified and they fly into a wild rage, incensed that I have just critiqued their driving skills. The other 20% of the time, I’m met with a blank look which confirms my suspicion of Tiny Brain Syndrome.
To reiterate, I’m really high on myself for this much improved road rage response. Why freak out when you can smile and enjoy your day? I never understood the phrase “Don’t suffer fools gladly” until I read Plato’s 4th Doctrine. His interpretation is that when someone is being an asshole, don’t let it get you down. Instead, gently inform them of their status as an asshole. Plato was ahead of his time.
Author Disclaimer: I am a perfect driver and never do anything stupid behind the wheel.