Chapter 30—Attack of the Stupid Person
It was an excruciatingly cold and blustering day. The wind-chill factor dropped the already frigid temperatures by another ten degrees centigrade. The two greatest challenges for driving were, starting the car, and driving on what felt like square tires. It was one of those days when stupid people around the town thought to themselves, “What a lovely day for a drive—I will roam the streets without purpose.” I, on the other hand, did not feel it was a lovely drive, and was out only to serve a purpose. I was out driving only because I had to.
The traffic was lumbering and plentiful. There were hordes. I pulled on to the street, but almost immediately was stuck behind a parked car. I had my signal on, and had resigned myself to wait patiently for my opportunity to move around the parked car and on into traffic. I had my head craned to watch the traffic coming behind me. I saw cars, buses and even a Mack truck sail on past. No one needed to swerve around me, and miraculously some even saw me in time to wave, or shrug sympathetically. Then, along came this brown, and yellow car. Brown was its natural colour, the yellow was a recent addition—likely from colliding with the reflective yellow walls of a some kind of parkade. In hindsight, that really should have been my red flag.
I am far more adept at hindsight than I am at foresight. I really had no reason to suspect anyone would collide with me, after all, if there was room enough for Mack trucks and buses, then there was room enough for everyone—or so I thought. It happened so quickly, that for a moment I was willing to believe that it couldn’t be happening. I saw this brown and yellow car approach, I heard the crack, and felt the jar at the same time, and then I saw her stop, just slightly ahead of my car, but in the lane beside. She walked over to me and asked if I was okay. I, not really fully believing in what was happening, asked her, “Did you really hit my car just now?” Perhaps it was my tone, but she did not take my question in the exact spirit I thought I asked it. She went off on me like a rabid Chihuahua. All the while, cars were doing their best to safely navigate their way around us.
She concluded her rabid tirade with what I am sure she thought was her “smoking gun” : …and look at how you are parked! Don’t you see how all these cars have to change lanes just to avoid hitting you?!” Ironically, just as she said “you?!” a car screamed by her—horn a blaring. She narrowly escaped being a hood ornament, but still she turned to me, gestured grandly to the car that just passed and said sanctimoniously, “See!”
Her bizarre blend of obtuseness and denial nearly rendered me speechless—nearly. I levelled my voice to psychotic, cool, calm and said, “That car, and all the others before him are swerving into other lanes to avoid hitting YOU. Incidentally, which shop painted those racing stripes on your car—interesting shade, guard rail reflective yellow isn’t it?” You hear adages cautioning against “poking the bear”, let me tell you, the exact same can be said of rabid Chihuahuas.
I was undaunted, my rage had been on simmer and was working up to a full on volcanic, rolling boil. I was waiting for the mink-clad, aged shrew to run out of breath before I launched my counter attack. She must have sensed the intensity, and sociopath nature of my rage, because she all but stopped mid-sentence, hobbled to her car and sped off. I was surprised, but did manage to copy down her plate number. I went straight to my chiropractor, and after that, I went straight to the police to report a hit and run/verbal assault/encounter with a crazy person.
The police were nonplussed by my story. The officer sighed dramatically, rolled her eyes and explained to me, in a manner befitting one speaking to a four year old, that my accident technically was neither a hit and run, nor a verbal assault. I then pursued my ‘encounter with a crazy person’ angle. After all, that was true, and my encounter combined with evidence of other ‘encounters’ on her car could prove to be compelling evidence for a “danger to self and others” argument.
The officer offered up yet another sigh of the martyred and put upon. This time as she rolled her eyes, I got the jump on her, “Look, I was standing still safely positioned in the park lane, stuck behind a parked car. I had my signal on, my car was secured, and I was waiting patiently for a chance to safely enter traffic. As I waited, several larger, heavy duty vehicles safely found their way past me without need of swerving or changing lanes. This crazy woman comes along, hits me, yells at me for being her latest casualty of her spatial reasoning impairment, all the while she was dangerously obstructing traffic. She verbally accosted me, and put herself, myself, and all innocent drivers at risk of a collision. As a peace officer, in your professional opinion, is this behaviour even a little bit peaceful? Are you suggesting that no laws were broken and public peace was not affected?”
You hear adages cautioning against “poking the bear”, let me tell you, the exact same can be said of police officers who are nonplussed by tales of woe, and feel terribly put upon. The officer growled and threw an accident report at me. She encouraged me to fill it out in the time it took her to put on her parka, go outside and take pictures of my vehicle lest she feel inspired to abuse her authority further with a “little mouth piece” like myself. I had had a long, cold and miserable day. However, it was my impression that it was the officer’s impression that her day was significantly worse, and my presence was doing nothing to change that (for the better). I probably scowled so hard I nearly swallowed my chin, but I did as the surly officer asked, and went about my way.