I don’t yell at geriatric pedestrians…….anymore.

I have a major problem, friends. I know, I know, I really seem like I have it all together, right? (Now’s a good example of a time to nod and smile. But don’t be condescending about it. Nobody likes that guy.)

Picture it:

It’s a cold but sunny day. I’m driving in my station wagon in the parking lot of the mall to do some last minute Christmas shopping. I am waiting patiently for a parking space. The turn signal is on, I am spaced closely enough to mark my intentions but not so close that the car cannot easily exit the space. In short, I am executing all of the universal signals for “dibs” on a parking space. I silently revel in my luck at finding a place in the actual lot of the store I need to visit, rather than only finding space in the auxiliary lot and needing to take the shuttle. The car on which I wait backs slowly out of its place. I begin to inch forward to claim my prize. What should happen? A man in a navy blue sports car screams into the parking space, a mere inches away from taking off my bumper. I did what every normal, rational person would do. I flipped the f*ck out.

I’m not talking a minor episode of rage. Oh no. (I paint in extremes, remember?) I can honestly say that it is the only time I have ever let loose such an epic stream of profanity in public. …During the daytime. …Outside of a bar. I was gesturing and shrieking and cussing up a storm. And what does he do? He gets out of his car, flips me off, and then sticks his tongue out at me. Dick.

I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t cry. I did. The entire way home. Because let’s face it. I’d had my triumph, my Christmas spirit, dashed. If I had gone into that mall and I heard one person ask why I looked miserable (“It’s Christmas! Smile! Unless you’re Jewish. Then it’s Hannukah! But still smile!”), I probably would have shut their head in the brand new Tupperware they were holding, purchased fresh from the kiosk.

Ok. So here it is:

Hi. I’m Katie. And I have road rage. It has been 3 weeks since my last episode.

I wish I could say that was the worst. But it isn’t.
I yelled at an old lady once. And I don’t just mean old. I mean “only leave the senior center once a month to pick up her prescriptions” old. She cut me off in the middle of an intersection and forced me to hit a curb. I’m not proud of it.

I have raged at pedestrians in the crosswalk in front of Target. I’m a good, courteous driver (GCD for those who know). I stop at the crosswalks to let the pedestrians pass. I never get angry when they are slow because they have small children in tow or a full cart. Because they’re doing their best! And aren’t we all? But I lost it when a woman was texting while she walked, completely oblivious. I had stopped for her. But rather than continue the text-shuffle she was engaged in, she stopped. The woman stopped IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, right in front of my car. Didn’t look up or around. Just kept texting. I gave her 30 seconds. (I am not exaggerating.) And then I stood on the horn. What did she do? Flipped me off. Of course. Because I was the one inconveniencing everyone here.

I have cussed at teenage drivers, senior citizen drivers, a bus driver, bicyclists, pedestrians, dogs, squirrels, and once, a wayward beaver wandering across the highway. But in my defense, I was cussing him out like a mother f*cker because I didn’t want to hit him at 75 miles an hour but I couldn’t slow down because I was hedged in on all sides in the left lane. I didn’t hit him, thank God. That would have landed me in therapy for like a year.

But along came Carter. Let me give you some background. I am married to the mildest, most even tempered man in the world. (Unless football is on. Or the World Cup. All bets are off, then.) Carter was appalled by my road rage and made it his personal mission to “fix” me. His words, not mine.

(Note: Let’s get something straight here. You can never, ever fix a person. This is the pitfall into which women fall. “He’s great. He just needs to be [INSERT ANYTHING HERE, ANYTHING AT ALL WILL WORK].” It’ll never happen, baby. Never. If he’s a dick, he will always be a dick. If he’s a mama’s boy, you won’t change that. If anything, you’ll drive him into her arms. If he’s an inconsiderate, woman-loathing douche, he will forevermore be an inconsiderate, woman-loathing douche. You can change habits. You can make him shower regularly or get him to care about nail and dental hygiene. You can even get him to read more or turn him on to jazz or get him to try new foods or travel. But you will never change who he is deep down. You CAN’T. That’s between him and himself. So when Carter said he wanted to “fix” me, I was skeptical pissed. But then I assessed. Carter liked me, Carter just didn’t like how I behaved in traffic. Just like I didn’t like how he adjusted himself in front of my sorority sisters all the time. Enter Carter’s program: Situationally Appropriate Reactions.)

Situationally Appropriate Reactions require one to slow down and consider their words before they utter them, to assess the situation and determine whether or not their intended reaction is appropriate. It is infinitely useful, I have found.

For example, rather than automatically call the old lady who cut me off a @#$% @#&$*%^ *$^%!@ &*#%$@, I should look at the scene and realize that she is so small that there is no way she can see over the steering wheel of her car, let alone look in her rear-view mirror to see me. This is another issue entirely, but it’s not my problem. Instead of calling her a @#$% @#&$*%^ *$^%!@ &*#%$@, I should send up a thought bubble to her family to either buy her a phone book to sit on or tell one of their teenagers to get off their lazy asses and step away from the xBox to drive GamGam to the pharmacy. And let her pass with a smile and a wave. (Because cussing out old ladies has to be bad for karma. There’s no way it isn’t.)

Rather than shriek, “Carter, so help me God, if you adjust your junk one more time in public, I’m gonna come at you like a rabid raccoon and you’re a shiny object that I want so get your f*cking hand out of your f*cking pants and act like you’ve got some f*cking class and mannners!” (YES. I get the irony.)

Or, and better still, rather than cuss out the douchenugget that took my Christmas shopping parking space, I should have smiled and nodded. Then I should have waited patiently until he went inside, put on my flashers, gotten out my notebook and written him a polite Christmas letter that would go something like this:

To the dick who took my parking space: 

Dear Sir, 

I am writing you to wish you a very merry Christmas and the happiest of new years. I hope you get everything you want. In addition, I hope you get everything that I wish for you as well. This list includes but it not limited to: common decency, some manners, a review book of parking lot etiquette, and a new haircut because the one you’ve got makes you look like a tool. Best of luck to you in all of your shopping endeavors. I hope they weren’t out of the cashmere sweaters that we all know you just came to buy for yourself because you’re probably an ass like that and that you were able to get several, all in flattering colors. Merry Christmas to you and yours. 


The girl you cut off who is recovering from a torn meniscus and is in agony but came to the mall to buy a present for her little sister anyways (who now won’t get a present because the other stores that have the boots she really wanted are already sold out of them and you made me miss the deadline to keep them on hold so now they’ve been sold to someone else and my sister will now have to open boot socks without boots on Christmas morning) 

P.S. Have I mentioned I have mono? And that I licked your door handle? And all over this note? You’re welcome. Enjoy the swollen spleen.

Am I totally off the road rage sauce? Not entirely. Do I screech at texting, wayward pedestrians anymore? Instead, I bow my head and repeat “Namaste” until the moment has passed.

Did you believe that?

Me neither. Actually, I still have every bit as bad a potty mouth as I used to. I just utter those words in a tone befitting the situation. So Carter can’t accuse me of rage. And I have been doing an awful lot of yoga, which, not surprisingly, has brought me a large degree of peace. See? I’m fixed!

(Note: Carter tells me that I am not at all fixed, that I have merely made good progress along the road to good behavior. My mother would also tell you that I need to stop cussing now because if I want to be a good parent and not swear in front of my future hypothetical nonexistent children, I will need at LEAST 3 years to break the habit. It is that bad, but I think she’s being a little overdramatic. We’ll just have a Swear Jar. And “Mommy Words.” Why not? There will ABSOLUTELY be “Mommy Juice.”)

(Addendum to Note: Please don’t judge my future hypothetical nonexistent parenting skills. I’ve got a lot of time to get better. And don’t you dare try to tell me that you don’t have “Mommy Juice.” I know for a fact that the only remedy for a teething baby is bourbon. On the rocks.)

But I’m trying. Honestly! And isn’t that what life is all about? Answer: Yes. Life is about trying to be a better person. And chocolate. Because everyone knows, including my iPhone, that when asked “What is the meaning of life?” the answer is always “Chocolate.”
Happy Monday, y’all! And Namaste!

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  1. LMAO that is funny. To me your reactions are normal…maybe because I react the same way. LOL


  2. Can’t fix someone — true, that! It’s an inside job, isn’t it? A good friend of mine has the word “pause” written on post it notes throughout his house. I like that. I haven’t always paused. I once flipped off a monster-truck load of guys off when I was first dating my husband … husband was driving & they cut us off. Instinctual reaction on my part. It wasn’t good. I apologized so husband would remain alive. When I started getting bad panic attacks while driving, I became much more driving-compassionate (also, people carry guns these days … and road rage isn’t the hill I want to die on). The texting while driving thing urks me … may as well be swigging from a bottle of Tequila… rather than rage, I dial 911 and report them.

    • I think the “pause” notes are a really good idea! And that flipping the bird experience sounds like an intense one! I’m terrified of flipping someone off for the very reason you cited – people carry guns now. I read all of these horrible Road Rage Gone Wrong stories on the news and I won’t lie to you, it freaks me out. I HATE it when people text while driving. It’s SO unsafe. But some of the TV ads regarding that problem are really powerful. I’d be interested to see how effective they are. I didn’t know you could report people! What happens to them?

  3. I go from one extreme to the other when it comes to raging on the road. sometime I’m sweet as honey, letting people cut in front of me, pausing to let tha tperson pull out of the parking spot, smiling at the oblivious soccer mom.
    but if you catch me on any day other than a sunshiney smiley day, I will CUT YOU! Me and my badass white 2006 Nissan Sentra will RAVAGE YOU and make your day as bad as mine! and if it’s the first snowstorm of the season and you’ve suddenly forgotten how to drive even though you’ve lived in the northeast your whole life, I will ride your damn bumper until you start driving more than 5 miles per hour. Yes, I realize this is WAY too dangerous, and I probably will have to re-think this driving strategy with an infant in the car. But until that baby starts repeating my words, Mommy’s gonna swear.

    and I have mommy juice. it’s wonderful.

    • I’m glad I’m not alone here! This support is really wonderful! I swear too much probably. But then again, I was raised by sailors and wolves. So I get it honestly.

      I’m glad you have mommy juice! It must be a good link to sanity! I can’t even imagine having an infant. Pshew!

  4. Personally, I think Carter must be a serial UNDER-reactor. Your responses are completely appropriate!

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