Last night the Offspring and I were cutting up in the car, yelling “UBER” as loud as we could because I saw a Uber sticker on the car just ahead of us in the other turn lane. (You should try it. It’s fun.) Con launched into a loud volley of “UBERUBERUBER!” When he realized the guy in the car immediately to our right must have heard him.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the SUV creep up slowly and the guy was leaning forward to look in the car. He reminded me of this guy we used to know named Larry. Larry was this big dude, but was always happy and friendly. This guy was neither happy or friendly. He looked a little miffed and as he started to roll down his window, I rolled down my window to explain that we weren’t talking about him.
“Hey, we were talking about the car ahead of you.”
The guy still looked pissed and said, “Yeah, that’s the right f***ing answer.” as if, you know, I should be scared of him and his wrath or something.
I think he wanted to fight me.
Me: “You need to settle the hell down, man. What’s your problem?” I asked.
Angry Larry Clone: “You’re my f***ing problem!”
Me: “Dude, what did I do to you? Did I cut you off or something?”
He rolled up his window and just refused to look in my direction at all.
I’m seriously not exactly sure exactly what happened. His reaction was surreal and out of proportion to anything I could think of that we might have mistakenly cast in his direction. I really would have liked the chance to talk to him, but we were running late as it was and trying to track him down in the parking lot he turned into probably would have ended up being interpreted as aggression that would not stand. The dude needed a hug but I wasn’t the one that was going to be giving it to him.
A large part of me was immediately furious, but then I started to realize how messed up this guy was in that moment. He was completely a prisoner of his rage at this perceived, but non-existent slight. Maybe he had a bad day, or a bad week. I could relate to that. Maybe in the middle of his swearing, he realized that there was no offense intended or made. Maybe he was too embarrassed to own up to his misperception and anger. And so it goes.
The world is a little scary these days. It feels like we’re all a little on edge and maybe it’s a sign of the times and our leaders that anger is so quickly fanned into absolute blind rage. I wish I had the chance to talk it out with this guy. We probably would not be friends, but maybe at least we could make an attempt at trying to understand where the other is coming from.