Rare Satisfaction

You’re driving, going at a decent clip. Some jerk is tailgating you anyway. He’s so close you can see his face in your rear view mirror. He looks like a douchebag.

He keeps drifting to the left to see if he can pass. He can’t, which makes him frustrated. He probably has a crap job and a worse family, which are stressing him out. Or whoever he’s talking to on his cellphone isn’t telling him what he wants to hear.

He finally gets a chance to pass. Steps on it to make a point and roars past. “Man,” you think, “I really, really hope that jerkoff gets pulled over a few blocks ahead. I’ll smirk as I drive past. Maybe give him a friendly wave. That prick.”

That never, ever happens. But the other night, I got a tiny glimpse of what it would feel like.

I’m coasting in to an intersection. It’s a four-way stop. Some dude is rolling in to the intersection at the same time, opposite to me but turning left (down the street on my right). That means only one of us can go. We’re going to have to stop together, and then one of us is going to have to yield to the other. Either he’ll make his left turn, or I’ll head straight through.

I don’t mind yielding – I’m not in any rush. But he doesn’t give me the chance. He decides to preempt our little negotiation by not stopping at all. He just keeps going, makes his turn, and heads down the street on my right.

Unfortunately for him, we weren’t the only people waiting at the intersection. A third vehicle had arrived at the same time on the same street this guy just headed down. This vehicle, it just so happens, is a police vehicle, driven by a rather large police officer. At the moment I see him his hand is raised, palm upward, in a gesture that clearly communicates exactly the same thing I’m thinking: WTF?

I pause. The cop doesn’t. He u-turns and heads after the dude.

The moment is over, but the feeling remains: a rare, sweet satisfaction.

24 Responses to “Rare Satisfaction”

  1. I once had the exact experience you described in your initial scenario. I was coming south on Hwy 6 from Guelph toward Hamilton when it was still mostly a two-lane road, and a purple-faced Mr Hyde came roaring up behind me in a sports car. I was cruising along at maybe 10 over the 80 km/h speed limit, but when he came up behind me he had to brake so hard that the front of his car kneeled forward and his bumper nearly scraped the road.

    He immediately started honking and swerving back and forth, like a snorting, enraged bull looking for the opportunity to charge. The lanes were narrow and the road was winding with poor visibility, so he couldn’t pass.

    Naturally he was tailgating about two feet behind my car, and I could see the veins popping in his temples. He started pointing and throwing his hands around inside the car while he mouthed imprecations at me. Then his fist came out the driver’s side window and started shaking at me. I swear I’m not making this up.

    I tapped my brake a few times to let him know I didn’t appreciate this involuntary automotive colonoscopy, and his driving actually grew more frantic and erratic as he rose into an apoplectic fury, alternately leaning hard on his horn and pounding his dashboard.

    I had enough, and simply took my foot off the gas. My car slowed to 80 km/h, then 70, then 60. At 50 km/h he finally lost his mind and swung into the oncoming lane to pass. – even though the road was just bending left around a blind curve. He crossed the double yellow lines, screamed past me and bolted up the street.

    I went into a slow burn then, thinking the typical, frustrated thought of all drivers who experience a grade AAA asshole up close: *Where’s a cop when you need one?*

    A few more minutes up the road, I came around another bend – and lo and behold, Mr Angry was stopped on the gravel shoulder in front of a police cruiser.

    I slowed right down while passing, honked once to get Mr Angry’s attention, and smiled and waved at him. The cop looked at me quizzically, but I accelerated back to the speed limit and carried on.

    The warm glow I felt at that moment lasted the rest of the day.