That’ll Do, Pup

It’s the responsibility of the elder members of the pack to keep the younger members in line. Mostly this can be accomplished with setting a good example and establishing expectations and without resorting to the fang.

This morning on the way to work I was passed by a teal, twenty-year-old Honda Civic two-door hatchback. (Plates available upon request.) Passing other vehicles and getting passed by other vehicles is a fact of life of the road. (George Carlin mentioned “anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac!”.) I don’t mind so much if the pass is safe and polite.

This maniac wasn’t so much impolite as rampantly unsafe. The average speed on this one-lane-in-each-direction road is 60 mph. Despite the fog that reduced visibility along that stretch to about one hundred yards, the turd passed on the left in the lane of oncoming traffic. So I gave him the finger for his troubles. (Not the scolding (a.k.a. Grandma Moose) finger but the other finger.)

It’s not that I mind if he dies. I mind if he takes someone else with him and I very much mind if that person is me. If another car had been in that lane, one or the other of them could have very well swerved into my lane. His right to be an idiot stops at my health, thank-you-very-much.

By coincidence we took the same route for ten miles. In a bit of an irony, I was directly behind him the whole time: his dangerous driving produced a net gain of fifty feet. I was just taking my normal route to work but chance afforded me the opportunity to give him the stink eye (another item from Grandma Moose’s arsenal) for fifteen minutes.

The latter mile or so is a road less traveled. At that point he began to worry that I was following him to his place of work, presumably to pound on him a bit. Since I was never that angry in the first place and was past the incident, I didn’t realize his concern until he made a sudden left turn (through oncoming traffic) into an industrial parking lot and then quickly looked back to see if I had turned as well. The panicked look on his face set me to laughing. I even saw him in my rear-view mirror inch past the shrubs to check that I had really left.

I never intended to intimidate the dingleberry into changing his behavior. Nor do I think that his momentary fear this morning is sufficient impetus to cause him to drive more safely. But I do know that he pulled a high APF this morning. So I feel like I’ve done my duty as a silverback and maybe helped a youngster reign himself in before getting others or himself harmed.

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