Allow me to introduce myself as a way of unraveling the background and setting the scene for these tales. I currently live in North Carolina, home to the world’s third worst drivers (the first being in South Carolina, the second probably in Bangalore, India). I’m originally from New Hampshire, and I have no intention of offending, so if the rules of road rage and improper use of your directional do not apply to you and you happen to be born and raised in North Carolina or residing here by choice, disregard this entire paragraph. Actually, I don’t even think it’s the North Carolinians that are the problem, I think it’s the fact that the sunshine, warm weather, and ocean brings in lots and lots of transplants. Foreigners who think to themselves they are anonymous or have no allegiance to those around them, so they drive like bats out of hell, chickens with their heads cut off, and any other animal you can think of that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I work in a Risk Management department at a fairly large company, where I see and deal with lots of situations in which people are not singing “kumbaya” and making the world go around. Instead, they are pilfering, shooting, threatening with knives, vandalizing, tripping little old ladies with their own canes, and spray painting video cameras. Because of this, and watching way too many movies, I tend to err on the side of caution with respect to whether or not people will be given to craziness as opposed to acting rationally. There are lots of crazy people in this world, and they can be highly unpredictable in a non-socially acceptable, frightening way.
AnecDONT #1: DON’T Honk at Other Drivers. Ever.
I was driving home from work the other night, after an exceptionally long day, followed by an exceptionally long caravan of Thursday traffic that was standing between me and relaxing, when suddenly a stupid driver pulls a stupid move.
Picture this if you will: I was getting ready to turn LEFT in one of those handy dandy turning left lanes that have been established solely for me. Traffic was coming from the opposite direction so I had to wait in the left lane until it died down. On my left, at a stop sign, there is a line of cars, who are also waiting to turn left or right. They of course, have to wait for the cars I am waiting for, AND for me to turn left, AND for any cars going in my direction to give them leeway. Well, strangely-colored 1986 blue Volvo does want any of this waiting nonsense. He cuts out in front of me in my turning lane and decides to wait there for the cars going in my direction to let him in, blocking me from turning left, and any cars that were behind him from making any sort of move. I politely honked my horn to let him know that was rather unappreciated by me, and likely a slough of other drivers he had just t-eed off. The driver of the car swings his head back to stare me down and he was WEARING A FULL-ON MASK. Face covered all but his eyes, baseball cap, and his run-down car had windows out everywhere. It looked like this guy was no good. I instantly flashed to the fact that he may have a gun and never in my entire life had I been more afraid that I was actually GOING TO DIE. If this man has a gun, I thought to myself, nothing would stop him from shooting. Nothing stops crazy people from shooting others and this guy looked like someone who had either just finished a bank heist or was about to embark on one. I was the only thing standing in his way, and that made me feel like target practice. My heart was racing and the two minutes it took him to pull out into traffic, all the while glaring at me, ticked by like weeks. Finally, he sped off, his cardboard for a front windshield and he rode into the sunset, likely to go murder someone.
When I got home, and recalled my horror story. My boyfriend did a nice thing and let me talk about how scared I was. Then he proposed. No, no, not to me! He proposed that perhaps the man was masked because his windshield was a disaster zone, and he wanted to prevent debris from flying into his face. I don’t like to think of anyone being malicious or ill-natured, so I took his explanation as truth and felt a lot better.
AnecDON’T #2: DONT Be “That Guy” (Or Girl)
Friday night, the highlight of pretty much every week, my boyfriend and I were taking a trip to the store for some wine and a movie (and no, it was not one I would recommend…the wine nor the movie). He parked, as he usually does, at the far end of the parking lot. I’ve always utilized this trick as a way to burn additional calories, but I didn’t know the exact reason behind his doing this, so I asked. After he was finished texting his mom, dad, cousins, brother, sister, and best friend, and checking his Fantasy Football League scores on his iPhone, he looked up to answer me. “I have three reasons. First, I like the extra exercise. Second, I think your car is less likely to get bashed into by these psychotic North Carolina drivers if you park far away from everyone else, and third, I don’t ever wanna be ‘that guy’.” “Which guy?” I ask, trying to decide whether or not I want a lightly effervescent Sauvignon Blanc that pairs well with light fare, or a Pinot Grigio with hints of apricot. “The guy that tries to fight everyone else for the spot up front, no need to make the parking lot more of a war zone than it already is.” “Good points,” I agree with him, as I usually do, and settle on the Pinot Grigio because the bottle is already chilled and my mouth is watering.
Saturday, I decide to run some errands and find myself at Marshall’s. Not exactly on my list of things-to-do, but I decide to roll with it. I search for a parking spot, any parking spot, and finally find one a few cars in (yes, VERY close to the entrance) and put my blinker on for it. A giant white SUV swoops in like a killer in the night and grabs the spot. An action by which I was so appalled, I could do nothing but put my car in reverse and show them my backing in skills for the spot at the very end, furthest possible from the entrance. You see, I was not bothered at all by not having that parking spot, I simply thought THEY were extremely rude and it kinda made me lose my cool for a second there at the sheer audacity of this. Furthermore, while I was backing up, they were honking at me MULTIPLE TIMES trying to get me to realize that there was another parking spot close to them that had just opened up. I walked by them and into the store and you will not believe what happens next…
The husband, who stayed in the car while his wife was in Marshall’s (smart man), YELLS at me from his window, “Hey, there’s yer parkin’ spot rat’ there!” “Oh, it’s ok, I like the walk!” I exclaim, thinking of all the extra calories I’ll burn with these few extra steps. Now, it gets worse. I get into the store and begin scanning for clothing items to start speaking to me when I hear someone else call out to me, this time, a woman’s voice, “Young lady, we were trying to honk at you to show you there was another spot close by where we parked.” Again I repeated my mantra about liking the walk, and carried on in my search. I was so frazzled, weirded out, and disgruntled that I ended up buying a skirt that didn’t fit which I didn’t know because I didn’t have the patience anymore to try something on. What makes matters worse, I’ve already made this EXACT same mistake with this EXACT same skirt, about two weeks ago. I guess I’ll go return it AGAIN. This time I plan be the first one in the parking lot.
Moral of the story, wear your seatbelt and don’t mess with my qi.