I was in traffic this past summer when I heard a loud disagreement behind me.
A guy was screaming at a motorist while doing a young Jackie Chan number on the guy’s car door. It was obvious that the amateur field goal kicker had a few serious anger control issues.
What was less obvious was how these two motorists got to this Andy Kim moment. That would be a Baby How’d We Ever Get This Way scenario, to borrow heavily from the title of Kim’s 60s hit.
All I know is that it likely wasn’t a music trivia debate that ignited this situation. Driver A probably did something in traffic that put Driver B in a bad mood.
As it appeared that self control was not Driver B’s strong suit, Driver A suddenly had himself one big adventure on his hands.
It also seemed that Driver B was a “deeds not words” action kind of guy, although his plan of action went through the roof on the stupid scale. In fact, this idiot broke the machine.
So I would guess that Driver A may have delivered something like a friendly one finger salute to Driver B.
Really crazy stuff in traffic usually starts with something that simple. Cars feel like a safe place to engage in bold moves and brazen acts of courage. They give you both flight and fight options- one of the less advertised reasons why cars have a brake and gas pedal.
The problem was that Driver A had not covered his flight plan very well.
He was in heavy traffic, so that only left the fight option for him.
Either that or lock the doors and let a totally unhinged maniac re-shape his car door contour lines.
That second choice appeared to be his basic plan of action.
The incident was neither new nor rare, but it was another example of violent situations that escalate from incredibly inconsequential roots.
It is very clear that few traffic disagreements provide a big enough hill (or street) to die on, in a literal sense.
But there is something primal about traffic that brings out some highly uncivilized responses in otherwise civilized human beings.
It doesn’t take much effort to scratch away the thin veneer of rational behavior and find the chaos. The results are violent and immediate in these situations.
People seem to have little trouble reaching the aggressively territorial animal within them that is no longer controlled by rational thought and the penthouse floor on the evolutionary scale.
So the obvious question arises in these situations: How far are you willing to take a traffic situation that has escalated to a level of violence that is well beyond anything that you may have encountered in your life?
The answer may be important to you and the sheet metal on your car.
The psycho you just cut off in traffic may also have a big say in this impromptu Indiana Jones style traffic adventure.
More of Jim Sutherland at mystarcollectorcar.com