Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pavlov's Middle Finger

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a native of New Jersey. What this means is, we drive with one hand on the wheel and the middle finger of the other hand extended out the window. We will give the middle finger for anything and everything. Someone cuts us off, bam. Someone honks at us, bam. Someone doesn’t move quickly enough when the light turns green, honk and then bam.

This is not to say we are discourteous drivers. We do have roadway etiquette, but we also have a punishment system built-in when someone violates said etiquette.

So it was yesterday, on my way home. I entered an intersection just as the light turned yellow. Unfortunately, this was a busy section of highway that had another controlled intersection about a thousand feet ahead, and that light was red, thus we were stopped dead. I was at the tail end of the line of traffic. To make matters worse, those who were turning right (to go the same direction as I was going) from the street to my right couldn’t go anywhere even though they had the green…because of this same traffic backup. When I finally did get the green, and could move, I allowed the beer truck at the front of that line to cut in front of me (it turns out it was a Budweiser truck…..had I known this, I would’ve given him the middle finger and not let him in).

Because I had not only stopped (thus holding up traffic) and further delayed things by allowing a truck to cut in, the driver behind me honked her horn. Much like Pavlov ringing a bell, causing his dogs to look for food, I immediately extended my right arm and flipped off the person behind me. It was only after doing this that I bothered to check my rear-view mirror to see to whom I had given the digital “Fuck You.”

It was a 60-ish year old grandmother-type in a mini-van.

Awesome. I just gave the middle finger to an old woman. Somebody’s grandmother.

Of course, I was the one trying to extend courtesy to another driver, so while I certainly inconvenienced this woman and her race to go to water aerobics (or wherever it is women of her age go), there was certainly no call for her to be rude to me. By giving her the middle finger, I was performing a public service.

28 comments:

  1. Hey, just wanted to let you know that if you are on FB, someone started a JS group page and in 24 hours (maybe less) we have found 213 old members! Come join!

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  2. She was probably on her way to the sex therapist, Steve, and that day was role-playing day.

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  3. Sorry Andi, not on Facebook.

    Luna, I have no doubt!

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  4. I remembered how much you loved the Oklahoma Sooners and thought you'd like this story:

    http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/10/27/convicted-killers-last-words-boomer-sooner/

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  5. Like most OU fans, I doubt this guy could have spelled either Boomer OR Sooner.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Okay, I’m late with this one, but this post reminds me of an incident that happened to me.

    Many years ago I’d bought an old secondhand car on behalf of my brother, to make roadworthy for him, as I had plenty of spare time and he didn’t. After getting the basics sorted out I took it for a test drive round the residential fringes of the town, during the middle of the day – in other words, when there was practically no other traffic.

    I approached a side road I wanted to turn into, slowed down, then attempted to change down into second – only to discover that the normal device to prevent you from changing to reverse didn’t function, and, with a terrible grinding of gears the car stalled and came to a halt in the middle of the road. As luck would have it, in an otherwise empty road, there was a car just behind me. At the instant I stalled, the driver gave me a blast of the horn.

    Now I live in a semi-rural area, and the sound-the-horn-on-reflex mentality is far less common, so I was a bit surprised; I was more surprised when I turned to stare coldly at the driver to see that it was a 30-something, smartly dressed woman. Of course, being flustered by events, I didn’t do more than take my time restarting the car and moving on, but later I wished I’d got out, walked up to her, and asked her how she felt sounding her horn was in any way productive. Did she think I’d stalled the car deliberately just to spite her? Or was she offering to get out and push-start it for me? Sadly my normal sarcasm failed me, as it would have been an ideal opportunity.

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  7. To think I was about to reprimand you for not having updated this since October when I checked and realized I haven't updated my journal since June.

    Go Bears!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey :) your blog is great, really :) I invite you to me. Could observe me;) http://alex-faashion.blogspot.com/

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  9. Maybe my reader wanted me to reminisce. Great reading this again

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  10. I cannot help but enjoy this well-written anecdote of a story across the nation. I find it short and to the point. However, I find it interesting how different courtesy is from the South to the North...

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