It’s 7:00 AM and I’m running late for work.

It’s my fault of course. I didn’t get much sleep last night and the snooze bar on my alarm clock was too tempting to pass up. When I finally achieved consciousness I realized I had only half an hour to shower, shave and drive to the hospital. No time for breakfast or coffee. Not good.

I jump into my car and slip onto the highway. One mile into my journey the “low fuel” chime starts ringing and waves of anxiety start rippling across my empty stomach. I don’t have time to stop for gas. Cursing, I think about making a quick stop at a gas station I know sells coffee so I can fill my tank and mainline caffeine at the same time. But the mature part of my brain says that I have an obligation to be at work on time. I grit my teeth and tell myself that I’ll have to be satisfied with the crappy coffee they serve in the staff room. Ugh, it tastes like warm water brewed through a brown crayon.

As I shift my car to the right lane to catch my exit I suddenly hear a car honking behind me. Looking in my rearview mirror I see a harried looking woman in a beat up old car on my bumper flashing her lights. She wants to pass me. That makes no sense since the exit is coming up soon. I ignore her.

But as we come up to the exit the woman honks her horn again. In my rearview mirror I lip read the woman’s mouth forming the words, “Motherfucker.” I shake my head angrily and keep going. Even if I wanted to there’s not enough room to let the woman pass. She’s just going to have to wait.

Suddenly the woman guns her rusted out shitbucket’s engine and tries passing me. That’s a stupid move. As she moves alongside I see a decrepit middle-aged woman with a head of greasy unwashed hair white knuckling the steering wheel with both hands. When we’re parallel she looks at me and the hole in her face starts screaming. The exit’s coming up so I step on the accelerator and force the woman to fall back behind me. Tough shit lady.

But the woman’s doesn’t let it go. When we reach the bottom of exit ramp we get stuck at a red light The woman takes this delay as an opportunity to stick her head out her window and treat me to full blown psychotic tirade. “You faggot!” she screams. “You fucking asshole! Who do you think you are? Fuck you!”

When you work on a psychiatric ward you have to have a tough skin. Being verbally abused is part of the job. Only yesterday an angry patient called me a “fat homo” while having an anxiety attack. I kept my cool and calmed the patient down. Was I annoyed? Of course I was. But I had enough experience and professional reserve to realize this woman was mentally ill and tailored my response accordingly. To be truthful being called a “homo” didn’t bother me – it was being called fat. I guess you can’t expect a psychiatric patient to care if you’ve lost twenty pounds.

Because I’ve worked with the mentally ill on and off for twenty years I’ve developed a very long fuse. That’s a blessing and a curse. When you work psych it’s an essential personality asset but on the street it occasionally causes problems. While reason, deescalation and a clear head will get you through 99% of the confrontations you’ll have with your fellow human beings, there are individuals out there who view a patient reaction as a sign of weakness and will exploit it to take advantage of you. When I was younger I discovered my “long fuse” was occasionally a liability. After getting into a few sticky situations by always being “a nice guy” I realized that every once in a while you have to look like you’re ready to kick the other guy’s ass. Hopefully that’ll always be a rare situation but it’s a sad truism that some individuals only respond to the threat of force. I see it with my patents all the time. Despite all our entreaties to calm down they’ll occasionally scream, yell and break stuff until five really big security guards show up and tell them to cut it out. The trick on the ward, as in life, is to know when it’s time to be nice and when it’s time not to be nice. It’s a delicate balance.

“Faggoooooooot!” the woman screams again, honking her horn loudly. “Faggooooot!” Then she rolls her car right up to my bumper and taps it. My fuse burns out. It’s time not to be nice.

I roll down my window and stick my head out. “Listen you crazy bitch,” I shout. “If you tap my bumper one more fucking time you’re going to be in a world of shit.”

The woman stares at me open mouthed, slumps in her seat and shuts up. Then the light changes and we drive off. When the road open up to two lanes the lady slowly passes me. Tears are running down the woman’s cheeks. I feel bad. This lady’s having a rough day and I probably made it worse. Maybe she’s poor and can’t afford a new car. Maybe her dog died or her kid’s sick. Maybe she’s late for work and didn’t get her morning cup of coffee either. As she drives out of sight I kick myself for trying to be a tough guy. There’s no honor yelling at a messed up lady. Next thing you know I’ll be roughing up Girl Scouts.

I pull into the hospital’s parking lot, race to the entrance, clock in and head towards the unit. The charge nurse chides me gently for being late. I apologize, grab a cup of bad coffee and head onto the floor. The woman who called me a “fat homo” the day before is sitting at a table eating her breakfast.

“Hey Steve ,” she calls out. “How are you?”

“I’m fine,” I reply. “How are you?”

“I’m sorry about the other day. I didn’t mean to call you names.”

“Thank you,” I reply. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.”

“I’m just glad you didn’t flip out,” the woman says. “Everyone one around me flips out. Thanks for being nice.”

“You’re welcome.”

As I walk around the unit I think about the crazy lady I encountered minutes earlier and compare it with how I handle the patients. I feel off kilter and guilty. But even though I’m second guessing myself, deep in my gut I know took the right approach. I got the balance right.

But that doesn’t mean I have to feel good about it.

75 thoughts on “Balance”

  1. Karli says:

    Love this post…balance….such a struggle. I can so relate to how you handled it and how you felt about it. And no, you don’t always feel good about it…..

  2. MJ says:

    Sometimes crazy bitches need to be put in their place. There’s a difference between a psychiatric issue and a cowardly old hag with road rage. What did she expect after her behavior? An “Excuse me, madam, but if you wouldn’t mind, I would greatly appreciate it if you would please stop riding my ass.”

    People become monsters when they’re driving. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I usually just ignore them completely, not even a glance in their direction, and usually they become so frustrated that they wear themselves out screaming. You look really stupid when you are screaming at the top of your lungs and no one is acknowledging you. Sometimes I think they are going to pop a lung or blow a blood vessel in their brain.

    When someone starts tapping your bumper, though, it is time to bring down the hammer. Well done. Maybe next time she’ll invest in a punching bag instead of taking out her anger on fellow motorists.

  3. Aunt Becky says:

    Beautiful post. Sometimes you’re the pigeon, sometimes you’re the statue.

  4. Bob Dobbs says:

    Honestly don’t know how I would have handled that. Sometimes we just deal.

  5. JJ says:

    This was a nice piece. I love synapses of those moments of humanity and revelation. However, I have to ask, is it true that Oprah told her audience on a show about saving money that they should start tipping 10% when they go out to eat? There is a group on Facebook that purports this. Just checking. It would make for a good blog, though I know you have high respect for the daytime pontificator. If you’re friends, please tell her to take it back. My livelihood depends on it.

  6. ASW says:

    Wow. That captures it perfectly. It’s so hard to hold that long fuse in the face of adversity.

    My wife comes from a family full of toxicity and situational overreaction. We have both learned that sometimes, you just gotta eat shit to keep the peace, and sometimes you can’t eat any more and you snap back, and you have to pay the consequences of your action, whether it be a calculated exercise in building boundaries, or apologizing for being improperly short.

    It’s the breaks. And bravo to you for keeping a cooler head for those who need you to [e.g. your patients]!

    Great post!

  7. Jimmy Rogers says:

    Interesting look at balance and the phenomenon of intimidation….

    Btw, when did you start working psych again? I mean, I’m on the internet, I have a right to know your entire life story! 😛

    1. Wendy the happy waitress says:

      Ha ha ha ha what a great comment!!! It is only intelligent response that I have read…”so far” mmmm maybe you can give this blogger some tips 😉

  8. Persephone says:

    Steve, the advantage you had was that you were a man confronting a woman. A woman wouldn’t necessarily be safe to respond the way you did. I’ve come up against some real psychos on the roads and freeways. One day, this guy blew up beside me and started screaming at me and swung his car toward mine. I looked at him in shock, then he seemed to realize that I was not the person who had pissed him off. He got the shocked fish look and took off.

    Another night, driving home, I had a pickup behind me, only a few feet off my bumper. It was the usual heavy commute traffic, I was not in the fast lane, but the guy wouldn’t back off. I finally got space and moved to the right. He followed me and stayed on my bumper. I ended up calling the CHP on my cell. The guy stayed behind me, then I finally held up my cell phone where he could see it. He suddenly pulled around me and took off. I got his plate and gave it to the CHP, but I was freaked. I was watching for him all the way home. I had to wonder whether he was acting out over something, or was a rapist looking for an opportunity.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I think you were more than patient enough, and that some people shouldn’t dish out what they can’t take in return. So you made a mean old lady cry, so what? She was asking for it. My patience only goes so far, too. I waitressed for 3 years, and there was one waitress coworker in particular that always had it in for me. She constantly spread rumors, caused trouble, was unhelpful and downright ugly in her behavior toward me. I was the one who was constantly teased by the other staff for being too polite, too patient, etc… Even the cooks teased me about it, yet because I always said “please” and “thank you” to them and didn’t rush them, they handled my food well, helped me out quite a bit, and I was always drafted to deal with them when someone else had a conflict. One day my waitress nemesis pushed me too far, and instead of being polite to her, I cussed her out at the top of my lungs, just like everyone else does.

    She never gave me trouble again after that, and just a year ago, she looked me up on a social networking site and apologized for all the crap she put me through.

    Sometimes, to get through to another person, you have to stoop to their level and speak their language.

  10. rachel in oregon says:

    I’m a lurker. Sometimes it’s okay to stick up for yourself. It sounds like Crazy bitch was escalated to the point that she was making decisions that were dangerous. You were in traffic and didn’t have time to do an assessment and de-escalate her with nice words. I think you did good.

  11. wonderland says:

    That long fuse? I have one too. Came in handy in the classroom, but one day, a student ticked me off so bad, I grabbed his bent, sloppy, messed up binder, quietly opened my classroom door, and drop kicked the thing into tomorrow. Then I called his father at work and told him everything. Next day, the student walked in, sat down, shut his pie hole and did some work, rather than spin on one leg of his chair and tease the special needs kid sitting behind him.

  12. Groovecat says:

    tough shit for mean old psycho-bitch.

    she had more than what you gave her coming to her.

    too bad if her dog died or whatever. that’s life. so if my dog dies, or i’m in a bad mood, i get a free pass to act like an ass and even become a danger to others on the road?

    f*ck ’em.

    i empathize w/’em, even feel sorry for ’em, but that doesn’t excuse the dangerous/stupid/a-hole behaviour.

    some folks only respond to a show of force. it’s not right, it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

  13. Annapolitan says:

    Sometimes you have to respond in a way the other person can understand in order to stop their behavior. It sounds like turning the other cheek wouldn’t have worked in this situation, especially if she had reached the point where she was bumping your car.

    So yeah, shocking her to the point where she stopped what she was doing WORKED. Don’t apologize for that.

  14. lester says:

    wow … i never thought of my slow temper as being an asset in working with the mentally ill, but i realized after reading your post that it was. i also hate rude drivers, but pretty much ignore them. i think i would have reacted to having my bumper hit, though. i think did really well–sometimes people have to be told they’re rude–even if they’re having a bad day. no sense letting them spread it to someone else.

  15. mary says:

    Your writing blows me away.

  16. mary says:

    You did just fine with the old lady armed with the rusty bucket.
    Years back, one of the funniest things I saw on the psych unit involved a 120 lb., 5’2″ orderly, and a healthily heavy black lady about 6 feet tall. She was quite combative and at that time and place (in the padded room), standard procedure was to pin her against a wall with a mattress, so that no one got hurt. Only one security person was available, one nurse, and the orderly. Final result was one orderly pinned under the mattress with the patient, nurse, and security guard laughing. Sure defused that situation!

  17. Moshizzle says:

    Huh, I was a crazy bitch on Saturday. I let a guy driving a Benz cut in front of me because to not let him in would have meant holding up the other direction of traffic on a road that was already more than half closed because of a construction crane. Then what does the guy do? He does an illegal left turn right in front of me holding up my lane even though I honked and yelled through his open window. Granted, I didn’t call him names or slurs but I did yell, “hey you can’t turn left here! Learn to read the sign!” What did he do? Nothing. He was a giant, self-entitled jerk. But it wasn’t til a guy on the sidewalk with his kid yelled “jeez lady” and I yelled back “he should learned to goddamn read! Jesus!” that I realized I had descended to Benz’s level and was venting my anger onto innocent bystanders (including my parents in the car) while Benz didn’t give a shit. I was pissed that I did something nice and this guy took advantage of it. Yeah, it pissed me off but I should have taken a deep breath instead of verbally ramming his bumper. Sometimes the crazy bitch needs to have it pointed out to her, is all I’m saying.

  18. Sarah says:

    I wouldnt feel too bad – she could have damaged your car by tapping the bumper. If you hadnt have said something to her, who knows how far she would have gone?

  19. Waiterrant Fan says:

    While I understand what you experienced I applaud your restraint.
    Most people would have been far worse in that situation I think.
    I sometimes wonder what gets into people when they get behind the wheel (myself included). What makes people think they can act in a crazy and agressive manner while driving that they’d never do in person?

  20. alohalady says:


  21. Cenobyte says:

    You totally did the right thing. She was acting in a mannor which could get you or any number of people hurt.
    Besides, in some places, that kind of behavior could get her shot!

  22. leithold says:

    All in moderation. Nice post. I had a long fuse too, until I realized that sometimes (actually a lot of times), being patient and seemingly timid just does not cut in in this world. There are times when you must be assertive (but not to the point of being an ass).

  23. I Can't Find A Job says:

    Steve, sometimes you can only take so much. The lady in the car was clearly over the line and the situation could have become much worse if you didn’t react the way you did. It’s not your responsibility to know what her problems are — it’s her responsibility to not project them onto others, especially complete strangers.

  24. AAB says:

    Hi Steve,

    In this kind of situation, as thinking, feeling human beings it is natural for us to second guess ourselves, to evaluate and think about “how I could have done that better.”
    It’s what makes you, as I suspect you are, a decent human being. But, keep this in mind as you re-evaluate the situation. She tapped your bumper . Who knows what else she may have done? “I can’t Find a Job” said it very well: “It’s not your responsibility to know what her problems are”

    She created the situation, you were forced into a defensive position. You handled it just fine and the guilt that you feel is part of what it take to keep the balance and is the price of being a decent human being.

  25. annie says:

    I’m afraid that if you don’t blog more regularly, your traffic will drop off. After checking every day for days on end and seeing nothing new, one is disinclined to continue checking. If you blog every day, it’s worth checking every day. ‘Just trying to be helpful.

  26. Bill McNutt says:

    “That’s all I can stands, ’cause I can’t stands no more.” – Popeye

    She’s lucky the spinach didn’t come out.


  27. Ben from Buffalo says:


    I think the real point that needs to be made here is “Why the hell are you still working”? You are a NYT bestseller!!! Unless you have an expensive fabregé egg addiction there should be no reason for working as an orderly in a hospital.

    At this point you should be strolling around wearing a tophat, monocle, and a fancy-twisty mustachio. 🙂

  28. Am says:

    Seriously, this is something I struggle with. I’ve got a long fuse and am very easy-going, and I really think people see me as someone they can use and abuse because of it. However, barring the mental illness you mentioned, there is no excuse for taking out your bad day on someone else. If I can take a deep breath and remind myself it’s not the responsibility of the slow-poke on the highway to make sure I’m not late, most other adults can too. If they decide to act like selfish assholes, they deserve the shit scared out of them by someone who just won’t take it.

    Bottom line: She needed to be confronted. Before she let her rage do serious damage. Tapped bumper one minute, vehicular homicide the next.

  29. Roxanne says:

    Can anyone answer me this: I can’t seem to get the hole blog, i only get the first 3 lines or so. How can I retrieve the hole blog? Because what I read would probably make more sense if I could read the hole thought.

  30. Roxanne says:

    I feel kind of like an idiot. I figured it out, easy enough. All I have to do is press the title and *POOF*! the hole blog appears. So it goes…

  31. Kafkas Angst says:

    I was driving in heavy traffic with my college girlfriend when someone cut in without signaling. I took a deep breath and let it go. My girlfriend reached over and laid on the horn. The guy started yelling and flipping me off. I smiled and calmly pointed at my girlfriend, trying to let him know it was not me honking but her. She said, “why’d you do that?”

    To which I replied, “so he knows to come back here and beat the shit out of you rather than me.”

    “Wouldn’t you protect me?” she asked.

    “Not for doing something stupid like that I wouldn’t,” I said. Then I finished with “if you’re driving and you want to honk you can honk all day long, but if I’m driving, you’re not allowed to touch the wheel unless death is imminent. Those are the rules, live by them or don’t ride in my car.”

    She also complained because I made her fasten her seat belt every time she got in the car too.

  32. David says:

    @Roxanne: don’t feel like an idiot!

    Perhaps you wanted:

    “The Jackson Hole Blog” —

    or, “The Memory Hole” —

    or even, “Kate Hole’s Blog” —

    Hope this helps! Unfortunately I don’t know how to help you find “the hole thought”.

  33. Diamond says:

    Sometimes the tough rules of life are imposed on everyone. The fact that one is a polite person does not mean that everyone else is polite as well. There are times when you need to react rudely as well, if you want to survive!

  34. Tucatz says:

    You responded appropriately. The difference between a mental patient yelling names at you and the woman on the way to work is that the mental patient is not guiding 3500 lbs of steel with her hands. Snapping her back to reality was only reasonable. If she’s that out of control then she shouldn’t be given a guided missile.

  35. Celtic Lass says:

    Perhaps Steve continues to work at the mental health hospital because he is good at it, because he can make a difference, because he has a calling for dealing the mentally ill, or perhaps he just wants to give back somewhere, paycheck not withstanding.

    Keep up the good works, Buddy!


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    Korean Man’s Guide to Getting Sex in LA for Cheap

    Page [1] [2]
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  37. Taxic says:

    Oh noes, the spammers come again.

    Great post Steve, you gave that bitch what she deserved!

    Also, misread “see it with my patents all the time” thought the typo “patents” was “parents” lol

  38. heart in san francisco says:

    I struggle with the same issue daily. Balance is difficult to attain when one is a hothead by nature and an aspiring Buddhist.

  39. Anonymous says:

    You are too nice. If someone bumps my car after pulling that sort of shit, I’m getting out, getting their license plate, drivers license #, and insurance. Then I’m calling the cops – need a police report for my insurance claim after all. If they try to drive off – well, that’s a hit and run, and neither cops nor insurance look kindly upon that either. No apparent damage? Well, damage can be hidden, and I need to cover the costs of auto inspection. Not to mention the medical exam – you never know when whiplash can occur! Plus, the fact that “I’m sorry – I’m late because some crazy lady rearended me” sounds way better than “I’m sorry – I overslept” is a nice bonus.

  40. Jennlm says:

    If it means anything, I think you handled it right. Some times people need to be put back on track, and clearly she was one of them.

  41. Markus says:

    I think you handled it just fine and actually de-escalated the situation. Sometimes it’s necessary for people to learn that their actions have consequences and it’s not like you had many alternatives to choose from. Sit there and let her hit your bumper again, maybe harder to actually cause damage? Crash into you as she’s trying to pass you aggrissively?

    Nah, you called her on her little power trip and that was that. Over and done with.

  42. J says:

    I call b.s. on this post. It just doesn’t seem realistic. The coincidences are just overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I love this website and all the posts, I even have the book. This post however I just feel that it is a far stretch, the woman going as far as bumping you then crying, lol. Just wanted to give my opinion that’s all.

  43. Ebay Powerseller says:

    As much as I admire your restraint, I have to say that sometimes, chivalry can be misplaced. Women can be just as dangerous as men when they decide to be crazy behind the wheel. If some lady lost her shit at me so much that she was physically tapping my car with hers, I’d get the police. I wouldn’t care how much she’d be crying about it afterwards. Lots of bullies cry when people stand up to them.

  44. squeaky lemons says:

    I’m wondering if she was crying BEFORE you saw her face. That whatever had her in such a hurry had to do with somewhere that she was trying to get to FAST. For all we know a loved one had been in an accident and she was desperate to get there as soon as she could.

    Still doesn’t excuse bumping your car and I believe you were right in calling her on it.

  45. Tara says:

    I’m almost finished with your book, and it’s fantastic! I found myself lost in Server-World for many years as well, and I completely identified with your story. I had a college degree and television experience, and ended up landing in a chain restaurant. I remember, they filmed a TV commercial in the restaurant during my shift, and watching people do the kind of “real” work that I used to do, I found myself crying in the bathroom. I saw and heard and learned a lot, which you describe perfectly. I have a saying now…it should be mandatory in the United States for every person to wait tables for 3 months. Many attitudes would change. I plan on keeping up with your new experiences here! Peace.

  46. The rine says:

    Would have loved to read more if there weren’t so much swearing. Too bad.

  47. jay says:

    Loved this one. It’s a nice look at the situations people have to deal with. The woman clearly needed someone to help her realize how irrational she was being.

    And to squeakylemons, if someone is in that kind of hurry, they probably wouldn’t be raging and name calling. It’s easy to tell the difference between anger and despair on someone’s face.

  48. Andi says:

    rine- This is a blob. This is his blog. Therefore, if he swore and wants to write down exactly what he said it seems he is well within his rights.

    And Steve? Don’t feel bad. She was probably having a rotten morning over something completely trivial (or not, who knows), got ridiculously worked up over it while trying to drive her car and you snapped her back to reality. Her crying was probably actually her starting to chill out.

  49. Andi says:

    Oops, I meant blog….not blob.

  50. Jenny says:

    Someone (I think it was my mom) once told me, “Your poor planning does not count as my emergency.” There is NO excuse for driving like she did and tapping your bumper.

    Bad day or not, that’s not your problem. You put up with her wreckless driving far longer than I would have. (I’m trying to learn patience)

    You’ll still probably feel bad about it; I always second-guess myself too in situations like that.

  51. Janet says:

    Amen to that is all I can say. You have no Idea how crazy these poeple are I mean she could have a sawed off shotgun under the seat. I dont get into it with people like that. Would have like to know what she considered a good excuse for her behavior though. I too am slow to anger but when I blow you will know!

  52. Zoe says:

    LOL i love you!! my friend has your book and let me read it 😀 im up to chapter ten!! your AWESOME 😀

  53. Badem says:

    I had something scary happen to me a few days ago while driving into work, coming round a roundabout, clear indicating to take the right turn off and as i got to the junction before it this one guy looks me dead in the eye, gives me a salute then pulled out right in front of me, cue the evasive manouver, Slamming on of breaks, slamming of the horn and the sudden outbreak of expletives.
    There are always idiots on the road, the best advise I got for driving is this ‘Assume every other driver is an asshole and you will be fine’
    I hit the motorway to work, stay in the lefthand lane unless I see a slower person infront then I move to the middle lane and overtake beofre moving back over. The amount of times I get people riding my ass because i refuse to exceed the speed limit for them is beyond belief, even to the point of following you onto the slowland when every other lane is empty. But then I get perverse pleasure of slowly slowing down to 50 and see how long it is before they overtake me.

  54. Clay says:

    Waiter, be careful out there. I remember a decade ago that there was a woman in my town that got into a road rage incident with another woman. One ended up being dead with a gunshot wound. It’s not just men that are angry drivers. My rule is to never flip the bird – that seems to make people really mad.

    The other thing I rely on (experience 650,000+ miles on the road) is passive aggressive lane use – make people go and do what you want them to do by positioning yourself by speed and lane. Works all the time. If I don’t want to get cut off by someone, I simply make sure there isn’t an opportunity for them to do so.

  55. Paul says:


    I certainly enjoyed your post, especially the idea that being laid-back, easy-going, “long-fused” is not always a good idea in these sorts of situations.

    As far as feeling bad at the end of your encounter: given the circumstances, I think your response was actually pretty muted. It’s one thing to yell at someone or give ’em the finger, but another thing altogether to actually hit them.

    @Badem: Since it’s generally accepted that the fastest traffic stays in the left lane and the slower traffic in the middle/right lanes, why have you made the choice to drive the way you do? I was taught that if you’re in the left lane and someone is trying to pass you up, you get over when it’s safe – whether you’re driving the speed limit or 30 mph over it. Seems like the smart way to avoid problems – unless you’re trying to make a point.

  56. Vineclaw says:

    To be honest Psycho was lucky that it was you with your awesome patience and not some lunatic with a gun who would go road rage on her dumb ass.

  57. Caroline says:

    Tapping your bumper was a direct threat to your personal safety that could have quickly escalated. What you did nipped the situation in the bud before you or an innocent bystander got hurt. Sorry her feelings got hurt, but she needs to look into anger management.

  58. Shauna says:

    I think you got it right. Sometimes people need a hard shake to calm them down.

    Congrats on losing 20 lbs 🙂

  59. Ridwan says:

    Wow, this is amazing! Balancing is really an art & science! 😉

  60. yoda says:

    @Paul (#49): Badem probably lives in the U.K., where slow traffic is in the left lane, as cars drive on the left side of the road. The hint is that he said “roundabout” and “motorway”, not “traffic circle” and “highway”.

  61. Andi says:

    Badam- Do you have a nice car? One where someone would assume you have sufficient insurance that they are assured coverage if the accident was deemed “your fault”? If so…there’s your answer right there why the dude pulled out.

  62. ree says:

    @yoda: actually, that same rule applies here in germany. left lane for passing and fast cars; middle and right lanes for slow cars. clue: “motorway” is an english term for “autobahn.” many germans use this when they’re talking to an english-speaking person. they also use the term, “roundabout.”

  63. zip says:

    i’ve had to verbally flip a couple times, because of my desperation and incapacity to just throw down a bully. although i never felt physically capable of fighting, i also thought it was stupid, and if i thought how it would make me feel if i actually “won” a fight, i would feel like an instant asshole shit. Somehow i just figured it could never be over, but if i just played ‘pacifist’m then they might somehow realize they are being a douchbag. this has gotten me out of most fights.
    But in the safety of your car- yeah man, let em have it.
    dude, i’m a caregiver too, and i totally see the emotional obstacles we can try to maneuver around, and sometimes hit unintentionally. I have to pause, sometimes on my drive home, and think about how my client can’t think as i do, or communicate as i might hope. i don’t want to be another person who thinks of them as a burden- they’re not.
    I was getting upset and caught up in the job recently, and i thought: is the world a better place because this person was born, and the answer, without a doubt, is yes. they teach others compassion, values, friendship, respect. they teach us how to give a shit.
    I like how you write. i’ll visit again. always love a penpal, feel free to shout out at my blog or shoot me an email. peace.

  64. Michelle S. says:

    I would’ve been fine up until she bumped my car. THEN we would’ve had a situation. Sometimes you just have to do something.

  65. Doubts says:

    The only thing waiter did wrong as far as I can see was accelerating to keep crazy lady from passing him. yes it was justified, and I know from experience it was fun and felt good, but it also helped to create the situation. He also couldn’t know what level of crazy he was dealing with. Someone unbalanced enough to tap your bumper is already pretty close to being batshit enough to run you off the road. So she deserved it but it was still not the safest thing to do.

  66. kiki maguire says:

    Are you fat? Height and weight please.

  67. Currer Bell says:

    Look at it this way, maybe she was crying because you snapped her out of her anger and she realized how terrible she was behaving. I’ve had times where I acted rude because I was impatient or angry, and then felt awful about it later.

  68. Jordan says:

    I woulda told the lady to get the hell out of her car and give me her insurance information. There’s no reason to tap someone’s bumper. people like that piss me off, You shouldn’t have felt bad for going off, I would have too.

    My Mother in law works on the psyc ward at the local hospital. she’s told me things from the floor that just freaks me out. (obviously kept it confidential and said “one patient” but still…) you gotta have some serious brass ones to work the psyc ward. but she raised my husband and his brothers, gotta count for something.

  69. Di says:

    I’m betting that you didn’t really make the lady cry. I’m betting she is crying out of emotional exhaustion from being so upset, and that your comeback gave her pause enough to get over whatever psychotic anger issues she was going through. Although I was partially scared that you were going to write about seeing the lady at the hospital, grieving over some sick/dead relative. Not really an excuse for her bad driving manners… but it is what it is.

  70. GreenGlowingMonkey says:

    I think it’s obvious you have a background in the Church, if you’ll pardon my saying so. The instant guilt you feel when you fail to live up to a perfect standard is kind of painful to watch. Sometimes, a little slack is deserved by all. If you can give the “adult” in traffic with all the emotional control of a 6-year-old on Ritalin withdrawal a break, perhaps you can give yourself one, too…

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  73. R.Weathers says:

    I guess I’d have taken her license plate number and let the cops know she tapped my bumper, that’s their job to check it out. Yelling at a stranger can lead to a gun in a person’s face, it is, after all, a rough world we live in now. But I never lower myself to the screamer’s level. I’m a Social Worker and have had plenty of confrontations, at work and similar to this one, in my car.

  74. kharl says:

    Just one question, sir. If you’re a waiter, why do you work at a psych ward? Are you working two jobs, a day and night shift or what? Just curious. Thanks and I’m a fan of your blog.

  75. tenzin says:

    I know, sometimes we do something completely out of our character. As for me, I always try not to make things worse but some times I turn on my jerk mode and make people suffer, atleast psychologically. Living in new york, the crowd drains a lot of your energy, they make you feel so worthless. You feel like one of the many roaches trying to thrive. You will come across rude nykers all time. Once I was walking on the streets of manhattan and there was this really old hag passing in front of me. And since I smoking then, i had to spit, and when i did, this old lady saw me and started yelling ‘this is america.’ I was like wtf? But i didnt respond to that. But in subways people brush against you all the time and most of the time you are too busy to react but one day this chinese guy pushed and gave me this stare and hopped on a train. I went staright up to him and said ‘ you gotta problem with me’ and i could tell the guy almost pissed his pants because he pretended not to speak any english. I took that my victory, the fact that that guy didnt confront me back. But after few minutes, i started feeling bad.

    But personally i have never experience any bad experience out of smoking cigarettes.

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