Just Breathe

We were parallel parked on the left side of a one-way street, waiting to pull into traffic.  This was following a rather lovely lunch on a cold, gray day, with a bit of snow just starting to spit from the sky. There was a guy in a blue car across the street from us, parallel parked on the right side and also pulling out.  Either he didn’t look, or he assumed the traffic was going to stop to let him pull out.  He nosed his blue car into the road right as a larger black car was moving past us.  He almost hit the guy (or maybe he almost got hit, not sure from my angle).   Blue Car honked his horn in annoyance (even though he was in the wrong).  Black Car threw up his hands to indicate, “Whaddaya want from me, you jerk?”.  Blue Car couldn’t just let it be, and immediately zoomed out of the space, speeding right up to get on  Black Car’s rear bumper.  A couple of more cars came along behind them, and then we pulled out into traffic behind all of them.

roadrage2Black Car didn’t manage to get very far though, because the traffic light had turned red as he approached it.  Blue Car was clearly still seething – he just couldn’t let it go and again crept up to Black Car’s butt.  I don’t know if Blue Car yelled anything to Black Car, but suddenly the guy in Black Car got out and came around to Blue Car’s driver side window.  Words were exchanged that we could not hear.

The light turned green then, but nobody was able to move anywhere, so we waited for this altercation to end so we could escape the drama and all go our (now not so) merry way.  But it didn’t end.

After the guy from Agitated Black Car said something to Aggressive Blue Car, he turned around to get back in his vehicle.  But it still was not over even then.  Blue Car must have then yelled something really nasty to him as he was walking away.  Or maybe he made a lewd gesture, because all of a sudden, the guy from Black Car turned around and headed back to Blue Car.  This is where I rolled down my window (from way back, anonymously) and yelled out “Please, just get back in your car!”   But apparently he wasn’t going to heed my advice, or didn’t hear it, because he went over to Blue Car’s window and punched the Blue Car guy right in the face!  Really hard!

We were stunned.  “OMG!” yelled my daughter. By now, someone in one of the buildings who must have witnessed the whole thing from a window above started yelling something down to the guy from Black Car  (still couldn’t hear what it was).  Guy from Black Car, agitation x 10, turned around and yelled something unintelligible back to the window caller.  At that point, my daughter rolled down her window and yelled something too, then reached over me and honked our horn. “OMG, don’t do that! That guy is crazy!” I said.  She assured me the other motorists were honking too,  but I couldn’t hear that either.  I just wanted to get out of there, away to safety.  But we were on a narrow, one lane, one-way city street and there was no place to go.

Then an older woman with short white hair  seemed to be wandering in the street.  We were not sure if she was related to the guy who got punched or the guy who did the punching and had gotten out of the car…. or maybe she witnessed it from White Car behind the two of them…. or maybe it was none of those things, and she was just trying to cross the street and got caught in the insanity.

The guy from Black Car then got back in his vehicle and zoomed off around the corner.  Guy from Blue Car sped off after him.  Everyone else went straight, but we were turning too (very cautiously now), only to see the tail lights of Black Car vanishing in the distance and no sign of Blue Car at all.  Perhaps Blue went to find the police.  Or an emergency room. Or just went home.

In this crazy world, it would not be beyond the possibility that either of those guys could have had a gun.  And used it.  Over something as ridiculous as one guy pulling out of a parking space without looking and the other guy not stopping and making him wait.  No accident involved.  No parking space argument either.  Just ridiculous, petty, overly-emotional human insanity and rudeness.  Worst case, someone could have died.  Best case scenario, everyone’s day was ruined.  As it was, somebody actually got hurt.

Was all this really worth it?  Are those people happy about how their day turned out? I doubt it.  The next time I find myself feeling frustrated in traffic,  I am going to reflect on Misters Black & Blue,  and really try and remind myself to Just Breathe.

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