Today, I was tagged by Normal Happenings in a writing challenge.
Detail an experience of yours (real or fiction) so bizarre you think you might have encountered an alien from another world.
So, as usual, when I get put on a spot, my mind draws a blank. Don’t you hate that shit? Anyway. After half a day of contemplation I finally decided to share what happened to me a few months ago while on the road.
When I first came home from this experience, I shared it with you. I was shaken up (and feeling a little triumphant) and poured it all out. Now I’m going to reflect back on that experience here.
So essentially, it boiled down to an experience with road rage. I was on the highway (two lanes in either direction) on my way back to Seattle from a trip up north. The traffic wasn’t particularly heavy and flowing fine, and as usual, I was driving a good ten or fifteen mph over the speed limit. (Yes, I know. I know.)
This speed allows me to move smoothly past cars in either lane without “whipping” from lane to lane like a nutcase. It’s a comfortable speed for me when dealing with a minimum of four to five hours of driving. (I really need teleportation. Seriously.)
Anyway. I had just passed a black truck going a good deal slower than myself. I glanced over my shoulder at the truck as I passed, confirming I’d passed him and was pulling away, then changed lanes. Apparently…. he sped up to try and block me from changing lanes (some people are just assholes and love an opportunity to show it?) and I ended up accidentally cutting him off as I hadn’t realized what he’d done until after the fact.
I had a moment’s grimace and a mental “shit, sorry” moment. It happens.
But this guy took things to a WHOLE new level when he then began first riding my ass, and then trying to change lanes and whip around me to get in front of me.
When I wouldn’t let him in front of me (because hello, erratic behavior at high speeds on a highway is a BAD idea) he then tried running me into the concrete median, then into the ditch a bit later.
I knew letting this guy in front of me on the highway was a bad idea, and I knew that losing him on the highway would be impossible. He was…. I mean, just wow. Erratic, enraged, violently aggressive with that truck of his, and he was going to cause an accident. So, I decided to take an exit and get off the highway in the hopes that maybe I’d be able to lose him somewhere.
Instead, he followed and, in the middle of the street, whipped around me by going into oncoming traffic and then blocked the road with his truck, forcing me to stop in the middle of the street. He then proceeded to get out of his truck and start in my direction.
I felt this was a really BAD idea, so I backed up (in the middle of the street). A semi started coming our way, and I guess he figured the current situation was untenable to him, so he got back in the truck. While he was getting in his truck, I quickly passed around him and hurried ahead.
He caught up, of course.
To keep hmi from getting in front of me again for a repeat performance, I used the left lane and got right up behind a car. I felt bad riding their ass, but I didn’t want to let him get in front of me again because this had definitely become an issue in personal safety.
For just over 2 miles, I rode this car’s ass while he drove beside me in the right lane with his window down, screaming obscenities at me, flailing out his window, giving me the bird, etc. TWO MILES!
I then (finally) managed to lose him as, while he was stuck in the right lane (and traffic was becoming more busy so he was definitely going to be stuck in that lane) I used a last-minute redirect before a traffic light to slip into the left turn lane and turn off. He was forced to go straight.
Fortunately? I have a very innocuous car in a very innocuous color, so once I was away from him, even if he saw my car again there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be able to be sure it was me. Just to be safe, though? I took an alternate route back to the highway to be back on my way.
In the time since this happened, it has been suggested I should have driven to the police station and pulled into the lot to sit there for a bit. And you know what? I really like that idea, and I think that’s exactly what I should have done. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of it at the time.
That said? The focus of this post is on the driver of that truck. He left me shaken and a little freaked out. And reflecting back now? I sit here wondering… How does anyone get -that- angry? Where does that kind of anger come from? How does someone allow anger to enrage them to the point where your actions are violently aggressive danger to not just yourself or the person you’re upset with, but the population at large?
This type of overwhelming rage is something beyond my scope of understanding, no matter how many times I try to wrap my mind around it. How does the human condition even have room for this type of rage and resulting behavior?