A great follow-up to my search-for-happiness post, but it’s been such a long time since I’ve had to deal with my rage problem. There was an unbelievable amount of traffic today…I get that it’s Thursday but the crash maps didn’t show anything more significant traffic-wise than normal!!! WHY then were so many people out??? It was strange too because it was crowded in some places and then not in others? Plus, the amount of impatient and drifty people has increased steadily with the temperatures. As much as I welcome spring and the warmer times, I do not in any way enjoy the traffic always involved with it. The cold and dreary keeps people inside. Whatever. So I was sitting in greater than usual traffic and it was so bad I decide to use a different road so that I continue to move even if it does take longer…I already do that but this one I save until I get reallllllllly extra annoyed as it is. My patience was stretched thin even though I was trying my darndest to keep it in check. Honestly, in the last several years I’ve been wholly successful in keeping in check my temper on the road. I’ve had so few incidents of road rage and have grown into the habit of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt that I’ve almost forgotten how it felt.
Anyways, I go down said road and at the 45mph speed limit there is a car 4 ahead of me travelling about 40-45mph and holding up the line. I don’t think much of it besides that even here I hit some traffic, but it’s better than inch, inch, inch. The turn lane ahead has overflowed into the 2 lanes, so I change lanes and go around them, ending up behind slow line leader. Red light. I sigh in impatience, but obviously my luck has been somewhat lousy, what are you going to do. Turn light goes for the cars and I note that they’ve tweaked the light to make it longer since I was last using this route. As it turns yellow and we’re about to go, slow-line-leader starts inching in anticipation, so I get my hopes up that maybe he’ll speed ahead so I finally get out of my car and be home. My mom and I are going shopping for clothes after dinner, plus my coworker asked me to stop by Home Depot to look for the Tide detergent they had half-off today only. He starts up faster than the car in the next lane, but nope. Slow as molasses again. I consider zooming around him but I decide to be nice and patient because I’m about to turn anyways. He also turns at my turn to my dismay, travels slowly up the turn lane with the green light. It turns yellow and I take it too before it can turn red, but Slow-Ass in the Mini Countryman TURNS SO FREAKING SLOW HE ALMOST STOPS. Of course that means I just ran a red light and omg it’s a Mini who turns that slowly??? Whatever, light averted. He continues slowly once more and we hit a 4 way stop. He stops, goes, then I stop, then go. I get up behind him and he’s going super slow AGAIN, but it’s 25mph and we’re going in front of a school. In my car when I let off the gas, it keeps going forever, so I end up really close behind him. I don’t mind going 30mph or 25mph, but I realize he’s getting slower and even slower. Uh oh. 20, 17, 15, then BRAKE LIGHTS. Remember, I give people the benefit of the doubt. I look around and see that nope there are no turns that he might have missed or was looking for. I just got brake checked. A sad, wrongly accomplished brake check, but still a brake check. Folks, if you want me to rage this is the most surefire way to do it. Nothing makes me angrier than a brake check. In that instant, I decided that NO WAY IN HELL was I going to let him brake check me down this road the entire way, because I know how brake checkers operate. So, I go around him. It’s true I did cross the double yellow, and I did speed, but so did he trying to block my progress, just like I thought he was. Upon reviewing my dash cam footage, he was trying to drive into me too, as he veered towards me, but you know what, my wagon is much bigger than his Mini. The game of chicken ended with me in front surprisingly (I’m pretty sure his car could’ve gone faster than mine if he wasn’t trying to ram me) and his puny horn barely heard over my car’s ROAR revving. I could see him half in and out of his lane behind me trying to “blind me” with high beams except that it didn’t work at all because my car is taller and it’s day time.
It’s amazing how my senses become heightened in the rage, fight or flight state (definitely no flight here). Time goes slower, my brain works so quickly, playing through scenarios to inform me of the possible outcomes of certain actions to best predict the opponent’s actions, and my reaction and actions are supreme and accurate. Sitting at the red light felt like an eternity as my heart was beating a million times a minute and that familiar feeling of muscles ready to unload and spring at any moment. My options flowed like movie credits through my head. I could easily have gotten out of that car to confront him (Asian man in his middle age. I could take him.), I could have just sat at the green light to make him more upset, I could drive inching, inching inching, or I could retaliate and brake check HIM and see how he likes it. Or a reverse break check! Turn on the reverse and hit the gas then brake! Rage means that I want to inflict pain. Unending pain. And death. However, after all these years of tempering, my brain has retained it’s reasoning ability finally in these rage modes. There are consequences to actions. Jail, prison, lost job, death, injury, insurance. I have dogs to come home to. People who love me and rely on me. It’s not worth it. Even if he deserves it. My decision? Take off at the green light and leave him in my dust. And sure enough, by the time I was up the hill, I see him in my rearview mirror going freaking slow again and holding a different car up. At least I know where he lives.
Increased blood pressure, I’m fuming and blood boiling as I make it into my parking spot. I hear my dogs barking and it helps calm me a little. Walk them and I feel better. Stick my footage into my computer to show my brother and to vent. It works two ways here: one to validate that there was truly a problem and two, to analyze what I could have done differently to avoid it. That’s when I see the little details I didn’t notice before (btw dash cam footage is never as dramatic as real life) like him trying to ram me as I passed by him, but chickening out. My brother said that, about him chickening out, when I said I was surprised I made it past him because my car is slow. Not only is my car much bigger, it’s louder and it’s true that HE brake checked ME and he knew it.
- I thought back to how it started and wonder if I had decided to not be patient, zooming around and cutting in front, if it would have prevented any of this from happening. I kept rewatching that part and I had the space to do it, but it’s hard to say if he would’ve done the same thing trying to prevent me from passing him. I think he would have to some degree, but with less urgency and emotion since I hadn’t slighted him yet. This is the problem with being patient and nice. Sometimes it puts me in a bad position. Yeah. I should’ve done that.
- Having gone so long without an incident like this, I wonder if this means You-Know-Who has been busy doing this to other people again. I am convinced that the reason I keep experiencing these people is karma from HIM. My siblings and mom don’t have this problem!! The reason brake checking infuriates me to no end is because of him. He used to do it constantly as a way of “teaching” other people or “scaring” them. While it may make some people back off, I don’t usually back off. That’s just not me. It’s a deep rooted hate and therefore a deep rooted anger.
- I swore that I would NEVER in any circumstance EVER brake check another person. I don’t care. I refuse to perpetuate what he used to do. It’s just hard given my temper problem to not give in to those desires.
- These years of control-exercise have gone such a long way. It used to be that when I got like this I wouldn’t be able to see anything. My vision would go white everywhere except my opponent and my ability to reason and think would be severely impaired. Survival instincts? This time I could see, I could hear, I had control. The mere fact that I went around him means a lot. The reason I did it was to distance me from the problem. Like I mentioned before I KNEW what he was going to do after the brake check because my dad did it ALL THE TIME. Plus I’ve had one other instance of this from that girl. They’re all the same. By putting myself in front of him I was ending the problem and placing myself in a position of control.
Well. I stayed upset for the rest of the evening, but it’s worn away now. I’m proud of myself for keeping my cool for the most part. I’m not proud of the breaking the rules part, but looking back I still think it was the best decision given the situation.
Heh heh, having gone through it a few times now, I have to say that the BEST feeling in these situations is leaving them in my dust. Zooming so far ahead of them they have no chance of catching up. In the situation with the girl, she brake checked me as we were going 50mph I was furious and even more livid as I caught her laughing in the mirror at me. Well the joke was on her because I knew she’d do it again, so right before she did, I switched lanes and zoomed way far ahead, causing her to brake check the jeep behind me. THAT was funny. This time successfully passing in front of him and watching him hold up someone else was the best. If they’re like that on the road, I can’t imagine what kind of people they are in real life. Unfortunately for them, I don’t like to back down, but fortunately for them and me, I refuse to perpetuate.