Saturday, January 08, 2011

When going green turned to seeing red

Once a year, just after a lot of folks have been given gifts of new electronic equipment, a local Television station teams up with an electronics/appliance store to stage an electronics recycling day. Last year I was all set for it, but the roads were icy and hazardous on the designated day, so I put all my stuff back into closets to wait for a year.

This year I almost missed it. Luckily for me, the dogs woke me up early yesterday morning, the TV was already tuned to the sponsoring station's channel when I turned it on, and the first bit of news I heard was that recycling was happening that very day. I pulled out all my old electronic equipment, loaded everything in the trunk, and drove to Baton Rouge.

The recycling station was set up in a large, strip-mall parking lot in front of the sponsoring electronics store. When I got there, there were two lines of vehicles at 90-degree angles to each other. At the stop sign where those lines intersected, they merged into one line to approach the collection area. It appeared to me that everyone was being courteous, stopping where they were supposed to, then a car from one line proceeding, then one from the other line. 

When it was my turn to move into the single line, the man in the other line waited patiently, though I could see that he had already turned his wheels in preparation for pulling in after me.  He didn't get the chance. The man behind me clung as closely as if our bumpers were magnetized and squeezed out the other guy.

That didn't go over well. At all. The man who had been cut off pulled his car up until it was almost touching the car of the guy behind me, jumped out and stormed to the window of the SUV behind me, where he shook his fist in the air and yelled, "Back up, you idiot! Back up! Back up! Back up, you old a$$h#&e!"

The "old a$$h#&e" didn't budge, nor did he acknowledge the guy who was waving his arms and screaming at him. He just sat there, staring straight ahead through his windshield, pretending he was exactly where he was supposed to be. The man who'd been cut off, getting more infuriated by the second, began yelling to the security guard at the front of the line and stomped off to meet the guard halfway and return with him to face the offending driver.

The guard assessed the situation and directed the man behind me to pull out of line and drive away in the opposite direction of the recycling area. He resisted at first, but  complied after the guard said a few more words to him. Because I was too busy exchanging smiles and thumbs-ups with people watching from other vehicles, I didn't notice whether the line-breaker man went back to the end of the line or left altogether, no doubt wondering how he'd explain to his wife why all that stuff was still in the back of the car.

Both of these men were geezers (an uncharitable term for people near my own age), and though it was clear, traffic-wise, that one was in the right and one was wrong, it would have been so much easier and safer if the offended driver had just let the other guy get away with it. It would have meant only a one-car delay.

I understand all about "the principle of the thing," so I won't ask you if you think breaking in line was justification for the cut-off man's outrage. Instead, my question to you is, do you think that men's heads continue to get harder and harder as they age?


  1. Most certainly. I'm often so amazed that the rage out there. Scary!

  2. I'm glad that guard made the guy leave. Its people like him that mess things up EVERYWHERE for EVERYONE. They are selfish and don't want to play nice (by the rules) and need to be taught that there ARE consequences, but only if someone has the nerve to bring attention to it. (Kudos to the guy who called him out on his behavior) These parasites are gambling that if they break the rules and get away with it, then they are the winner and it doesn't matter whose toes they've stepped on....and trust me, it doesn't stop with just taking cuts in a line. Men are hardheaded true, but I've found that some women are often extremely rude when they get older. No excuse for any of it.

  3. Most definitely. It's that Y chromosome. At the time I had 3 sons, 1 husband and a male dog at home, I developed a whole theory about things the Y chromosome prevents you from doing. I will have to add "driving courteously" to the list.

  4. Holly, I understood why cut-off man was ticked off, but the situation escalated very quickly to a point that could have become dangerous. Kind of scared me, kind of fascinated me.

    Val, once in the '80s I got a phone call from a former neighbor on whom I'd had a little crush years and years earlier. We struck up a long-distance relationship by phone, and I liked him as much as I ever did. Then he came to town to visit me. When we went out to dinner the first evening of his visit, he drove very impatiently and aggressively, and it turned me off so much that I couldn't wait for him to go home. I guess what I'm saying is, you're right. That attitude isn't manifested only in the driving.

    Writing MN, I would certainly like to hear more about your Y chromosome theory. I'll bet you could write a book just about that.

  5. I think we all get more stubborn as we age. What scares me though is that the guy who cut in line thought it was okay to do so, and that the guy who confronted him was really at risk. Road rage. I wouldn't so much as honk in that situation, but that's because of all the news reports over the past couple years of people getting hurt or even killed for that behavior. These times, they are crazy ones. People feel SO entitled, and as that goes up, courtesy goes way WAY down.

  6. Duly Inspired, you're right about the danger. I had my camera with me and wanted SO badly to take a picture of the confrontation, but I was afraid to.

  7. That situation makes me mad too. So often in a construction area there are signs a mile ahead saying that traffic is closed to left/right lanes and I dutifully get over into the proceeding lane. Too often 25 cars will go by and drive right up to the spot where the traffic is cut off and then cut in. I've been in that position too often but I never get out of the car and no one will ever know it disturbs me, afterall I don't want to get shot....

  8. Noel, why do people do that, do you think? Are they stupid enough to think we'll believe the closed lane surprised them?


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