So I just returned from an extended trip to the DC area to spend time with family, exploit the grandparents for their babysitting, and help my niece find a first communion dress. Who would have thought the last would prove the most fruitful?
My beautiful niece could wear a paper bag and leg warmers and still look like she was plucked out of a Chasing Fireflies* catalog. Long blond hair, clear blue eyes, and the sun-funniest disposition meant finding a dress that looked nice would never be a problem. So, we all headed to Tyson's Corner (think King of Prussia and the Westchester for my Penn and NY friends) in search of a gown that would do her justice.
Of course, it took not time finding something, and the only trouble I confronted was (1) my credit card's willingness to keep jumping out of my wallet and (2) the fact that the my invigorated appetite was subjected to the wonders of the food court. Congratulating myself for a successful trip to a major shopping center (and by success I mean no one screamed, broke anything, assaulted another unsuspected shopper, caused us to be chased down by mall security, or went to the bathroom anywhere beyond the designated areas), I headed to the parking lot for a short trip back to my mom's and napdom.
But the fun had just started.
As I made my way through the garage of high priced cards, I had to make an awkward turn to get into the only exit lane available to me. For that reason, my bumper was turned at a slight angle, just barely sticking out into the opposing lane. As I waited for cars to pass to make my turn out of the garage, I caught sight of a quick moving, white Mercedes as it peeled into the garage, ignoring its own stop sign.
Out of nowhere my children and I jump out of her seats as the Mercedes blasts its horn at what could only be our car. My expression must have revealed my perturbed confusion as I turned to see what the problem was.
That is when I saw her middle finger. That's right...this 85 pound, perfectly coiffed shrew was not only giving me the middle finger (something I only realized after I had readjusted my sight from the glare of her diamonds--- and who wears diamonds on their middle finger?---exactly), but my children were also taking in the nonverbal expression since the horn had also alerted them to her fury.
In that one second, as I digested the event, I actually considered what could be so horrible in this wealthy woman's life that she is able to generate enough rage to react in such a classless way over something so minute. I mean, if I cut someone off, I'll acknowledge it...even wave in apology. If I go out of turn at a 4 way stop, I'll pull back to correct my mistake. But this? Is she kidding? Really? The finger?
The second half of the second filled my mind with natural brainstorms of retaliation (and I am really pretty creative/ conniving when I put my mind to it). Not a big fan of my own middle finger (my cuticles are in need of some attention), I considered shouting some of my favorite expletives, taking advantage of one of son's diapers that was quickly making itself apparent from the back seat, or even engineering something with the remaining ketchup packets from 5 Guys. Now the first would just be bad parenting, and though the last two would work wonders on a shiny white Mercedes, my final decision was probably the most effective.
Hysterically laughing, right in her face. My mouth was open, hands were clapping, and I really just let myself enjoy the absurdity of it all.
Well, clearly she was not a woman who enjoyed being mocked as her face shook with wrath and she went on to hurl a laundry list of her own favorites. But I just kept laughing and so she sped away in a rage. The parking attendant, who watched the whole thing go down, joined me in the laughter because he (1) realized she was wacky and (2) probably sees these instances a thousand times a day.
So there you have it. When confronted with road rage (and a trip on the Beltway will certainly provide ample opportunities), just laugh. You won't lower yourself, you won't set a bad example for your kids, and you won't fall victim to anger.
And for me, a small victory for someone who rarely acts appropriately.
*If you too would like to spend too much money on adorably impractical, compliment inducing clothes, visit www.chasing-fireflies.com