Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Avoid road wrath, apologize next time

Wick's World

 


“This guy is following me!”

The car in front of me was creeping along as if he were on a Sunday drive around the lake. I switched lanes and passed him, thinking nothing of it. Only this time something was different. When I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw a red monster truck ready to crawl in my trunk. At first, I thought it was just another tailgater riding my bumper. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in city traffic. People are always in a scuttle to get where they need to go and the guy behind you always seems to be the most rushed scuttlebutt. I became slightly nervous when the large, shiny red pickup took the same u-turn as I did to enter the recycling center.

I was taking several paint cans and other items from my remodeling project that needed to go to the recycle center in Eagan. My list of tasks for the day was a long one and I was running late. I was not in the greatest of moods that morning because my wife and I were forced to spend the past two days in a motel. We were escaping the fumes from a newly installed wood floor in our house.

A rather large muscular man exited his red truck at the same time I opened my car door to dispose of my recycling.

“Nice lane change!” he barked in a none too friendly manner.

As I stated before, I was not the happiest guy in the world on this particular morning. Before I could think about what I was saying, I blurted out, “Who appointed you (expletive) of the day?”

He finally stuttered, “I did!”

“Congratulations!” I said in my cheeriest voice. He definitely was not ready to hear this from a little old runt like me.

My recycle helper removed the items from my trunk while his recycle helper only stood by. The guy was probably asking the helper how he could dispose of that mouthy little runt in an aluminum crusher. I noticed the man had no items to recycle; he had only followed me to be able to express his frustration at my driving.

Although I honestly had no clue about the lane change he was referring to, I recognized I must have pulled in front of him closer than he thought proper. I really should have replied to his comment with an apology and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I cut you off.”

However, I was not in an apologetic mood that morning and the situation was exacerbated by the fact I have very little tolerance for tailgaters. Along with mouthing off to muscular guys driving big pickups, tailgating is one of the most dangerous acts on the road.

I continued on my merry way when I looked into my rear view mirror. There he was, approaching me like a cheetah chasing a gazelle. All to no avail, I did several lane changes, followed by a u-turn. This guy was making me nervous, but it didn’t really seem like road rage — more like road wrath. However, I was afraid that simple harassment was turning into revenge. Was he going to ram my little Toyota with his monster truck? Was he going to try to run me off the road? Was he going to reach for his gun rack and blow me away?

When I began looking for a solution, I realized it was my own stupidity that had gotten me into this situation in the first place. His stupidity would be my way out. I figured guys who acted like this were the ones standing in the short line when God passed out brain cells. I could simply outsmart him. I headed toward I-35, which was experiencing rush hour traffic at the time. He fell for my trap. As we neared the entrance ramp, I slowed down as he pulled up on my right side to yell at me. I had him boxed in! I was able to buzz on past, merrily waving bye-bye in my rear view mirror. Meanwhile, he had no choice but to enter a bottled up I-35.

Next time, I will simply apologize. It really is the right thing to do.

 

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