Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Road Rage

Have you ever been a victim of road rage? I've had the occaisional tailgater, or honker, or flipper-offer, but if I'm being honest, I've done the same to others at times, so I don't consider myself a victim in any way. And I've never really had to deal with any personal encounter while driving. Until today.
Wait. Is it called road rage if it happened in a parking lot? I'll let you decide.
I was going to Target with the kids. They had just been to the dentist and we were already out and about so I thought I'd pick up a few things while we were out. I pulled into the parking lot and headed toward an aisle that was a bit of a distance from the front doors. I always think those are the best places because there are usually lots of spots and not lots of traffic. That's what I used to think.
I drove down the aisle just a little ways and saw three or four open parking spots on either side. The cart guy (is that what he wants to be called) was lining up carts on the left side, so I drove into one of the spots on the right. Just as I turned in, I heard a long, loud HONK! Startled, and afraid I was about to hit something, I slammed on my brakes. I turned to see where the honking was coming from and there was a car behind Cart Guy. He had his blinker on, and apparently had been waiting for the very spot I had just pulled into. Now, if there hadn't been about 7 open spots all within the vicinity of my spot, I would have kindly backed out and moved. But considering there was a spot on the left side that was even closer to the store, not to mention two right next to me, I didn't see the big deal. I continued into the spot and parked. I forgot the honker and set about getting the kids out of the car. As I pulled Rhett out of his seat and held the door open for the girls, I heard a loud male voice yell, "Why don't you get off your f-ing phone and pay attention!" Did I mention I was on the phone? Oh yeah, I was talking to my husband. About important dental business. And I was paying attention. Really.
I thought of ignoring him, but was kind of scared he would approach me if I didn't at least acknowledge him. So I responded, very cheerfully, "I'm sorry. Did I take your spot?"
"You know you took my damn spot. I had been sitting there waiting!" he yelled.
I said "I'm so sorry. There were lots of open spots. I wouldn't have minded moving if I had known it was a big deal. I apologize."
"Yeah, well, you didn't move!"
I chose to let it go at that point. Lucky for me, I'm more than halfway through my book, A New Earth, so I was able to see that he was responding from his ego, not from his true self. And that if I reacted negatively or argued with him, I would be responding from my own ego and would then feed both of our pain-bodies, which would lead to a much worse argument. Now, if I had already finished the book and was completely conscious, I wouldn't be writing about it now. It would be left in the past, where it belongs...but I love telling a story (I'm sure that's my ego) and writing purges my soul.
I was rather proud of the way I handled myself. I was very calm, very polite, and very apologetic. I didn't say or do anything I'm embarrassed of. I walked into Target, ran into him about 5 minutes into my trip and was able to hold my head high. And as I watched him glare at me, all I could think of was his poor little daughter, whose sweet little blonde head lay on his shoulder. She stared at me, looked at my girls, walking beside me, and then looked away. He continued to glare and I gave the girl a look that probably meant nothing to her, but was intended to mean "I'm so sorry. Not because I took your father's parking space, but because he shouted the f word at a stranger over a stretch of cement."
And I was so glad that I didn't let my angry feeling get the better of me. I would have been mortified and ashamed if I had argued with this man and been ugly in front of my children. I can't imagine what that man is like at home.
Speaking of his home...I wish I knew where it was so I could toilet paper it.

No comments: