Saturday, October 07, 2006

Is there something in the air today?

There seem to be an unusual number of aggressive losers out and about today. First, I was on the road for only a few miles, but I had several near-accidents caused by abnormal jerkitude on the part of other drivers. (I myself was driving particularly conscientiously, as I was carrying a litter of foster kittens, not to mention that I was enjoying the perfect level of caffeination after a Red Bull and a half cup of coffee). Now, San Francisco is home to many an erratic or inconsiderate driver, but today the streets were extra hazardous. I normally don't drive on nights such as St. Patrick's or New Year's or Valentine's Day, times when I think there will be drunks galore, but who would expect an October Saturday to be so crazed. For example, there was the guy in a big red pick-up who was honking at me and theatening to rear end me when I didn't take off when the light turned green.... BECAUSE THERE WAS A FIRE TRUCK WITH ITS SIREN ON ABOUT TO SPEED THROUGH THE INTERSECTION. I'm so sorry I didn't get into a serious accident in order to prevent you from waiting for a whopping 15 seconds, Big Boy.

But that was nothing compared to what went on with the rest of the nuclear family across town in the Marina. Anton took the girls to see an airshow featuring the Blue Angels, and he had arranged ahead of time that he could park in the driveway of a business he currently consults, conveniently located in the Marina. Another consultant did the same, driving up from the Peninsula with his child for the airshow. The driveway in question is wide and deep, such that two cars can legally park in it without obstructing the sidewalk. When they went back to the car, they found a man in a frenzy, who had parked his car on the sidewalk blocking pedestrian access to the sidewalk and blocking in both cars. The man was in such a violent state that a policeman had been attracted to the scene. It turned out that this man owns the building, which he rents to the business which gave Anton and the other consultant permission to park there. The owner is accustomed to parking in this space, even though he does not use the building or its garage but instead has rented them out. He was ticketed for illegally blocking the sidewalk, and this set him off: he threatened Anton physically, refused to move his car, and was threatening to the policeman. Eventually Anton and the other consultant agreed to pay the man's ticket, which they split.

Anton was deeply ashamed that he had "taught the girls some new words" (namely "asshole" and "motherfucker", which he used in conversation with this new acquaintance, the landlord). I cheered him up by noting that I had already taught the girls "motherfucker" the day I stepped on the jacks. But I was really troubled that he paid this bully off, and I expressed that he was teaching his children to give in to threats.

"There was a police officer right there! I would have said, 'Officer, are you going to stand there and watch this man is commit extortion and threaten me physically.'" (The Drunken Housewife's past life as a litigator has left her prone to getting verbally aggressive).

"I just wanted to get out of there. I had children with me."

"I'm sure you were being more pragmatic than I would have been, but damn. I could have used that fifty dollars for something better."

I hope the forecast calls for increased civility and greater chances of kindness amongst strangers.

1 comment:

Green said...

I'm blaming it all on the moon. The moon, and Fleet Week. And the Blue Grass Festival. All that, in one weekend.