I can’t forget the image of the young man’s tortured, enraged face as he leaned out the window of his battered car, thrust out his grimy fist with the middle finger raised, and screamed that I was a copulating female dog. He used other words I won’t write, but I think the translation is obvious. I smiled and muttered, “Honey, I’ve been called worse by real men with nice cars.”
I have no idea what caused such a violent, profane action. I was driving along minding my own business, using my turn signal, keeping within the speed limit, obeying traffic signals, and not texting or drinking alcohol. In other words, I was a rare and unique driver on State Street.
Suddenly a car moved close to the passenger side of my car so I quickly looked over, keeping my hands at 10:00 and 2:00 o’clock on the wheel. The window rolled down and the Face of Rage emerged like a scene from a bad horror movie. I haven’t seen such vitriol since the local all-you-can-eat-buffet restaurant ran out of chocolate pudding on Senior Citizen Day. My immediate thought was that I had accidentally run over his drug pusher. That would explain his lack of manners and teeth.
He screamed profanities impugning my very existence and then jerked the steering wheel and screeched down a side street, his dilapidated car belching blue smoke and his threatening finger still pointing out that I was Number One. In an earlier life, I quickly would have maneuvered through traffic to follow the fool, get his license plate number, and report him to the police as a danger to society. I know the right people.
But, the older I get the more I don’t care about losers and their sorry attitudes. It doesn’t bother me anymore, except I keep seeing his mean mug and threatening gestures. I hope he didn’t go and take out his anger on someone else. If a smiling, middle-aged woman driving legally in her SUV could make him that livid, there is no telling how he would react to convenience store clerks if they were out of cheap beer and imitation beef sticks.
I’ll admit to experiencing sporadic, temporary fits of anger about people and circumstances. I regularly gripe when I read or see news reports about the endless wars, the waste of money, evil people who hurt children, and the inept, corrupt politicians. So, as an anecdote to smashing something, I join others who channel that energy to vote, donate time and resources to local charities, and try to live good lives. The angry faces and clenched fists of protestors don’t impress me. The new Pope does, along with positive and lovely people who visit nursing homes, raise handicapped children, plant gardens, tell good stories, and sing songs.
Anger is unattractive and distorts facial features, creating monsters that appear in nightmares. Or, on State Street. Maybe the young man’s ugly face continues to reappear in my memory because he needs affirmation. And an oil change.