Friday, July 20, 2012

Road ... er, Sidewalk Rage!

I had the opportunity to confront a horrible and rude driver this afternoon.

I did not waste it.

I was walking back to my office in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood from the Public Market. My route south was along the west side of Water/1st Street. I was crossing the street at Seeboth. While I was in the crosswalk, a southbound driver, wishing to turn right, slowed and yielded to me. However, behind her, a driver angrily beeped her horn and waved her fist at the yielding driver.

I damn near jumped out of my skin because the horn did what it was supposed to -- it startled me and, at first, I wasn't sure if the car blowing its horn wasn't the vehicle nearest me.

Moments later I reached the other side of the street, the yielding driver turned right and the jerk driver drove about, oh, 25 yards only to be stopped at the E. Pittsburgh traffic light.

My heart still pounding from the surprise and rage, I yelled in her open passenger window, "What was the horn for?!"

"It wasn't at you," she replied.

"Then who?" was my retort.

"The car in front of me."

"What? She was supposed to run me over?!"

I believe she felt a pang of guilt and stopped looking directly at me. "Sorry," she sheepishly replied.

Sadly this one small incident reflects life in America today. Few are civil, even less are respectful. Try legally parallel parking your car on a busy Milwaukee street sometime; you'll see what I mean. You'll get three horns, a shaken fist and two middle fingers in the time it takes for you to put your car in reverse.

My friend Sara, in the wake of the horrible shootings said "People are broken." I think she's right. I'm generally optimistic, but I've seen little lately that gives me reason to be.

Excuse this terse post. It's a beautiful Friday, but with the awful news out of Colorado and the general incivility in Milwaukee, I'm a little grumpy today.

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