Feb 10, 2018

The Rebuke

2/10/2018 — cori

A random angry stranger followed me home and told me off yesterday. I have never experienced this situation before in my life. Here's what happened:

I picked up the kids from school and went immediately to my chiropractor appointment. Of course, because I was in a hurry, the chiropractor was running behind schedule. I was supposed to be home to receive a furniture delivery. I was running 20 minutes late. Thankfully, the kind furniture delivery people were patient and agreed to wait for me when they called to find out where I was. 

Remember, I live in Fort Collins - the land of slow Subaru drivers. It seems everyone here is slow and a greater than normal percentage of the population drives a Subaru. And my experience and data collection have yielded the conclusion that all Subaru drivers are slow. I'm sure there's a mathematical formula or logic statement buried in that sentence  somewhere. This is just a layman's observation.

Anyways, I digress. It's also no secret that I'm a wee bit of a competitive driver. I own it. I know it. My kids know it - they were the ones to bestow that title upon me. Let me clarify that competitive doesn't mean "bad", it means "I like to be the first in line and not behind the slow people" or "I look for the most efficient lane or route" type of competitive. If that sometimes means I need to break the speed limit to achieve it, so be it. However, I would never endanger my life, my passengers' lives, or another driver to achieve my coveted place in the front of the pack.  I refuse to sacrifice safety in my pursuits of "greater efficient driving methods." 

All that background information is necessary to understand what happens next. Our new house is located farther out in the country. The driving lanes continue to merge from 3 to 2 down to 1 the farther out of Fort Collins you drive. There is one stop light on the way to our house that narrows from 2 lanes to 1 lane immediately after the stoplight. If you're stopped at the stoplight, there is a little bit of lane for you to continue driving in, but not much.  You pretty much need to merge immediately. Some people don't notice the merge sign and get stuck trying to merge into the flow of traffic. Other's, like myself, choose to drive in the lane that is about to merge in order to avoid the mile long back up of (slow) cars in the other lane that continues straight. 

Yesterday, as I was focused on getting home so as not to keep the furniture delivery men waiting, I knew it would be a "drive in the merge lane" kind of day. However, the lady I was supposed to be merging in front of would have none of it. Apparently, she doesn't believe in merge signs. She believes she is right and must evangelize the rest of us as to her rightness. Unfortunately, at this same merge spot yesterday, a huge semi-truck was parked just to the side of the merge lane/shoulder with it's hazard lights on. So I had no room for error, I had to get into the continuing lane of traffic quickly. I sped up a little. So did the lady behind me. For whatever reason, she did not want me to merge. So much so in fact, that she was forcing my car almost into the parked semi. Then she was forcing my car into the shoulder, which quickly was disappearing into a ditch. I forcefully merged as not to end up in a ditch, thanks to her little lesson.

Along with her advancing speed, she was waving her middle finger vehemently at me. My heart was beating fast. I was trying to avoid an accident, get my kids home safely, avoid the crazy maniac driver behind me, and make it home for the delivery. 

I finally make it to the turn off of the main road. The crazy lady follows me in the direction of my neighborhood. I figured there might be a slight chance she lives in this neighborhood as well, so I wasn't too worried yet. I was praying she wasn't one of my new neighbors. Just to be safe, I took a turn earlier than my street. She took the same turn. I come to a round-a-bout. Bennett wanted me to go around it like 5 times. But at this point, I knew she was indeed following me and was trying to formulate a plan.

I asked Chloe, who was in the back seat, to turn around and get her license plate number. Why? I don't know. It just seemed like the thing to do; a way to find or track this person down if need be or I needed to give this information to police.  I then decide to take some random side streets and meander my way to the model homes that are all clustered together. If this lady did something to me, I wanted witnesses and I surely didn't want her knowing where my house was. 

I pull to a stop in front of the model home. Guess who pulls up right beside me? I roll down my window and ask, "Do you need something?" I have my phone in my hand ready to dial 911. This is road rage if I've ever seen it. The lady decides she needs to be the one to point out my driving flaws. She says, "You were very rude back there. I was trying to leave a safe distance of space behind the car in front of me and then you had to zoom in there and cut me off."

I said, "I'm sorry I offended you."

She would have none of it. She said, "Look at what kind of example you are setting for your children....blah, blah, blah....".  I heard nothing more because I rolled my window up. She was pure angry. Nothing I was going to say was going to convince her, change her mind or enlighten her. She had her mind made up about me. She didn't want to listen to me. She had already judged me and my intentions and wanted to justify her behavior and rightness to me. 

By the way, the kids loved the window rolling up trick while she was still talking. They were like, "Oooooh Mom! That was the ultimate roast!" And I was like, "I know, she really roasted me." And they were like, "No Mom. You just roasted her but shutting her down while she was still talking." I said, "I didn't mean to roast her. I just didn't want to hear her tirade. I didn't have to sit there and take it." Once she realized she no longer had an audience. She drove off in a huff. I bet she feels better now that she told off one driver.

After making sure she was no where around, I drive down the street to our house. The delivery guys said they drove around the block a few times waiting for me.  I almost drove straight to the police station with her following me, except for these sweet guys who I knew were waiting on me. I couldn't abandon them or be inconsiderate about their time. 

This took me a long time to calm down from. I was quite shaken up. Even if I was completely in the wrong and did in fact cut her off, you still don't follow someone home to berate them about their dumb driving. You just chalk it up to another dumb driver and let it go. I've done that myself to people who have cut me off, run me off the road or just been jerks while driving too many times to count. 

I had to realize she was probably just a good person who was having a bad day. I did not want to judge her character but it was very hard not to. I questioned the kids and tried to see it from their point of view. I asked them if I had cut her off. They were like, "No, you were just merging." Then I realized, I hate it when people think bad of me. Yet there was nothing I could do to convince this lady I wasn't a bad person. She hated my guts and she didn't even know me. She had judged me and judged me wrongly. How often have I done that to people? 

I eventually let it go and hold no ill will towards her. But it did give us another good story and a new way to shut someone down - just roll the window up.

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