God. You’d have thought the devil had showed up and needed to be scared away with what happened next. First, the driver laid on the horn. And I don’t just mean laid on it. I mean that he kept that sucker going for a good four seconds (count it out, that’s a long time). Next came waving arms. If I could liken it to anything, it would be to one of those blow-up flappy guys outside of mattress stores. Only a lot more angry. The look he gave me was meant to kill me. Except…
I knew the guy.
He was my neighbor.
I didn’t know him that well. A month or so ago, he showed up at my front door with another guy. They were both in suits and ties. They wanted to get to know me and invite me to church. Well, I don’t think they really wanted to get to know me. They had been assigned to get to know me. This I know because when I actually started telling them about me, and about my beliefs, and about my choice not to be part of their church, they hurriedly left with a quick, “we hope to see you there sometime!”
Then a couple weeks ago I saw him outside of my garage as I sat on my Harley, strapping my helmet on. He gawked the way married men around here often do… in kind of an I’d give anything to be you way. I have felt what he felt in that moment. I used to be married. I used to drive by neighbors on Harleys and gawk in such a way.
What I didn’t feel and have never felt, was whatever this dude was feeling that day at the dumb little intersection at the supermarket.
Look. I’ve been the guy in that very intersection who had to hit the brakes for someone else who didn’t stop. The intersection is so dumb that people who miss the stop sign always realize it as they’re passing by it, give a quick wave, and a shrug that says “sorry, my bad!” I never hold it against them. How could I? It’s a dumb intersection. I just wave back, smile, and let ‘em know they’re awesome anyway.
When I missed the stop sign, I offered a quick and friendly wave, along with a shrug of oh crap, that was stupid. It should have been the end of it, right?
Apparently not. The dude blew his top. In a friggin’ parking lot.
The best part was when he realized it was me and not some person he’s never met.