When a driver is behind me and begins to ride my bumper or flash his lights to express his impatience and discontent with my driving the speed limit (or a reasonable speed for road conditions), I like to be a total asshole. I slow down or tap my brakes to trick the person behind me into thinking I'm actually fully braking so they brake hard. Once or twice I've been known to stop dead for several seconds just to teach the impatient person a lesson. The person generally becomes even more frustrated and angry, and that amuses me.
Good thing I don't live in Los Angeles. I'd be shot for sure.
Back in my pizza delivery days, I often had a copilot who would accompany me on my deliveries and keep me company. These copilots were just really cool friends who were either bored or wanted to spend some time out and about with me. On one night in question, my friend, who we’ll call Jenna for the sake of this blog entry, decided she would accompany me around town while I delivered orders. After picking up a delivery order from Boston Pizza at about 8PM (it was winter and thus dark out), I began driving through the parking lot to get back to the street. As I slowly maneuvered over speed bumps, a car popped up behind mine. After a few moments of speed bump trekking, the person behind me suddenly flashed their lights. I slowed down as I went over the bumps...safety first was my reason, of course. The person wasted little time before honking at me and flashing lights again. I rolled my eyes and commented on how much of an asshole the person behind me was. Without thinking, I defiantly raised my right hand so it was visible through my rear window and extended my middle finger straight up.
Oh yes, the middle finger. Such an offensive, crude symbol...a finger raised while the others are curled down. Oh the humanity of it all! You can ding my car and kill my dog, but please...PLEASE...don't flip me the bird!!!
Anyway, I pulled on to the road and drove away from the rude moron who was behind me. I laughed and discussed the jerk with Jenna for a few moments. At that time, Jenna's phone rang and she answered it. The person on the other end of the line was yelling so loudly that I could hear her through Jenna's phone. The person who called was Jenna's mother.
You see, as it turned out, the person who was behind my car a minute before was Jenna's mother. And she wasn't flashing her lights and honking her horn because she was impatient and angry at me. She did so to get Jenna's attention...you know, just for fun.
Well, after I threw my middle finger straight up at Jenna's mother, Jenna's mother became FURIOUS. Of all the people in Airdrie that I could have flipped off, I had to give the finger to the most histrionic personality in the entire city. She told Jenna that she was terribly offended that I gave such an offensive gesture and told Jenna that she never wanted Jenna to see me again. She said I was a total jerk.
Oh, and she also demanded...yes, DEMANDED...that I apologize to her.
Now let's get one thing straight. If I found out that I had accidentally flipped off Jenna's mother, I would have apologized. It was an accident. But after her mother completely lost all control and had a crazy dramatic spazfest over something so mundane, called me a total jerk, told Jenna not to see me anymore, and demanded an apology, well there was just no way I was going to oblige. It was no longer an apology because I made a mistake. It was now an apology to fuel a dramatic hissy-fit and so Jenna's mother would feel as though she "won." No fucking way.
I took Jenna back to her car after the delivery because Jenna's mother repeatedly called and told Jenna to come home. Jenna complied and I continued delivering pizzas and what-have-you solo.
As it turned out, Jenna's mother went on a tirade, stomping around the house and bitching and complaining about how she was so terribly wronged by me. And furthermore, the freaking out continued the next day, and the next day, and the next day. It was actually the better part of a week before I was no longer a major topic of conversation for this woman. She complained to her family, to her coffee pals, and to pretty much anyone who would listen. She even called my boss and complained about my behaviour. Jenna told me "you should just apologize," as did her father and brother. But I'm far too stubborn to give in and far too proud to go against what I felt was best.
Jenna complained from time to time for a YEAR after the incident that her mother still mentioned it from time to time. WTF? Who gets THIS upset about a middle finger? Who is so offended by something so lame that they don't let go after 12+ months? Well now I know. And to be honest, I don't think I've given any driver the finger ever since. It's just not worth the fallout.
I leave it to my reader to decide whether I should have apologized or not. What do you think? Should I have sucked it up and apologized even if I didn't mean it? Or was I right to stand up for my principles? I personally think the best thing would have been to send her a picture of me...flipping her off.