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Taking life by the horn

BY DEAN TREFTZ | JULY 13, 2009 7:15 AM

It was a perfect opportunity, and I blew it.

She totally cut me off. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve because she and her Subaru must’ve been running too late to soccer practice to wait till after the curve before passing that biker.

Tons of people saw it, too — that biker guy’ll back me up.

I easily could have laid on the horn — and I’m not talking the common knuckle-tapping honk when the guy in front of you doesn’t see the green or when you see a friend on the street; I’m talking the once-or-twice-a-year-base-of-the-palm-thank-god-I-don’t-have-one-of-those-wussy-thumb-button-horns honks — I could have honked her into the next PeeWee football season, but I hesitated. By the time I realized what I’d missed, she was long gone.

It’s too bad, because justifiably throwing your shoulder into a honk and imprinting your car’s logo in your palm is a rare delight. Whatever stress level it induces is more than eclipsed by the fact that no matter how confusing and ambiguous life is, that bitch or that asshole cut you off, and you’re in the right and they’re wrong. Beautiful.

I mean, don’t they teach people how to drive in Benton County? And what’s her hurry — is Precious not going to have time to put on that second layer of shin pads? Muttering: [expletive redacted] it’s people like her who dragged the economy off a cliff.

Suddenly the world makes sense. For a time, I even get an almost narcotically seductive sense that if I’m getting screwed in any aspect of life, it’s someone’s fault. There is good, and there is evil, and for now I have been unjustly threatened by a woman who looks like she’s in her late 30s and therefore is a soccer mom.

And while all this is doable without physically honking, I feel like a perfect three-second, unanswered horn lashing lets enough people in the area know my righteous frustration to extend my little bubble of moral clarity/superiority for a couple more minutes.

Anything that delays that party-pooping voice of reason is all right in my book.

Yes, I don’t have any idea who that woman was, where she was going, or the athletics exploits of her potential children. Yes, I have perpetrated far worse traffic offenses against other drivers. Yes, the economic meltdown was a long time coming and was a product of so many factors that it’s ridiculous to pin anything on a single demographic group I pigeonholed this poor woman into.

I hate that voice. I’m fairly confident almost everyone does.

I’m never going to see that waterbottle-toting, Outback-driving, nuclear-familial psycho again.

Screw it, I can see someone for three seconds at 35 miles per hour and read them like a book. I’ll have to talk to my psych-major roommate if there’s some trick to ignoring parts of your brain only when in your car.

Because, even if only on the road, life’s too short to be correct; it’s more fun to be right.


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