As a child, I was a pretty docile, painfully shy girl. Then after high school I magically transformed into the outgoing and silly person that I am. I still get shy sometimes, but my confidence has gotten much better. I credit my husband, new friends and basement kegs of Natural Light.
Sometimes, I still have trouble speaking my mind or letting someone know when I am upset. Behind the wheel of my car is NOT one of these places. I morph into a 250 lb man with a shaved head and an anchor tattooed on his thigh. I'm not an aggressive driver--I'm very courteous about letting people in front of me, waving to people who let me in, etc. But if someone tries to tailgate me, or God forbid, cut me off, I start to feel the anger rise up.
When someone does something to offend me while driving, three things happen. First, I lay my entire body into the horn and give it all I have. Second, I use my choice hand gesture. Which is NOT the middle finger. No, that's overdone. It's lost its power. Instead I just kind of flick my hand at them, as though I am just dismissing them. I think it is infinitely more offensive. Then the third step is to think of the meanest thing I can possibly say to them. I rarely throw out the standard, "Learn how to drive a**hole!" No, I'm an English Major and a Professional Writer. Those are cliche. Instead, I think of the meanest possible thing that I could say to them. I study them. I observe context clues, like bumper stickers, other passengers and clothing choice. What could I say to this person that could totally defeat them, make them curl into a ball and want to die, leave them feeling insecure for the rest of the week. I take note of disproportionate facial features. Is their child tragically plain looking? Bad dye job? Hit them where it hurts.
Only, on one rare occasion have I actually said any of these things out loud. Some beastly woman almost backed her car into my parked car, I gave her a little warning beep before she hit me and she proceeded to start flipping on me. It was a perfect moment when the stars aligned and I thought up the perfect insult and timed it just right. But I only reserve those kind of comments for very special people. I think I actually wrote about that in this blog before . . .
Anyway, when these situations occur, I always think about my invention. I want to invent an electronic marquee that sits atop your car and broadcasts messages to fellow drivers:
I think I'm sitting on top of a gold mine. This may be the next Sham Wow.