I am the first to admit it, I have road rage. When driving, I run up people’s asses, I bob and weave in and out of traffic, and I speed… a lot. (Here’s hoping I don’t get into an accident because any attorney would love this confession.) But, when I’m raging at the other idiots on the road, the farthest I’ll go is calling them names in my car and looking angrily at them while I pass. Rarely do I flip someone off.
However, today, when I was driving to work a man in a silver 4 door sedan, with 3 stick figure children bumper stickers, and a “My Child is an HONOR Student..” magnet tried to kill me twice. The man was in the lane to my right and slightly ahead of me, my front bumper was even with his gas tank. The man on two separate and consecutive occasions attempted and succeeded in changing lanes, without using his indicator, without checking his blinds, and very narrowly missing me. The first time, I changed lanes as I realized almost too late he was coming over and not simply driving slightly over the lane divider. The second time, I slammed on my brakes as he pushed his way in without even so much a head turn. I honked once, and as we slowed for a red light he glared at me in his rear view mirror. I looked right back and turned my indicators on, mouthing, “Use these next time!” While self-righteous, I feel I was within my right to tell this man that if he had used his “blinkers”, I’d have adjusted my speed to let him in. I was not rude or over the top. But the way he reacted to my criticism/chastisement has bothered me since.
First, the man put his hand out his car window and flipped me the bird. Staring into his rear view mirror I rolled my eyes and mouthed, “Very mature.” He then flipped me off with both hands held up to his rear view mirror. Having had enough, I employed the “Kill ’em with Kindness” routine, waved and said, “Have a great day.” To this, he held his hands about hip width apart and began thrusting upwards while also using one hand to flip me off. At this point I was staring straight ahead at the light, disgusted by this man and beginning to feel apprehensive. I checked that my doors were locked and rolled up my windows. He started screaming expletives at me, through his rear view mirror, calling me names I’ve heard before and will hear again, but he was so violent in the way he said them. His face was red, he was gesticulating and jabbing his fingers at the rear view mirror at me. I was seeing all this through my peripheries and avoided eye contact. The light finally turned green and I let a taxi (whose indicator was on) slide in between us. The taxi drove incredibly slowly and I thought we had lost the man. I pulled into the right lane to speed off to my exit, and as I’m driving I see the silver sedan sitting on the left side of the road waiting for me. He pulls in front of the taxi, pulls up as close to me as he can and begins miming fellatio. Luckily I got onto my exit soon after and drove far away from him.
Maybe it’s stupid. Maybe I was overreacting. Maybe I shouldn’t have instigated. But, for all those maybes, I’m still indignant. This man is supposedly a father. What is he teaching his children? His actions belittled, demeaned, and devalued my existence. I became no better than a sex act, and this man felt comfortable intimidating me, going so far as to wait on the shoulder of the highway to find me and gesticulate rude things to me. This was vindictive, sinister, and extremely rude. His actions made me uncomfortable and apprehensive. In moments like these I wish I were a man, because I don’t think he would have reacted the same way.
As a woman, I have been catcalled, groped, called disgusting names, and much more. At the end of the day, when things like this happen, all I can think is: “Why does this seem acceptable?”
Sir, regardless of whether or not you’re a father, I am appalled. I am a human being. You were in the wrong. Regardless of how I reacted to your poor driving, you took your anger too far. Call me names, flip me off, but don’t mime sexual violence against me. Don’t treat me less than dirt. Don’t intimidate me. Yell names at me, sure. Be angry with me, sure. Intimidate and threaten me? Do not pass go, because you’re not a macho man, you’re a dick.