Bacon and I were driving last week when a blue Dodge Dakota swerved into our lane. It was a near miss, and Bacon tapped the horn of our minivan. At the light, Dodge Dakota pulled into the next lane. A man in military fatigues opened the door. Leaving the engine running, he stomped toward our car. My window was rolled down, and I felt his rage rush over me like a wave. Out of his head over a tapped horn, he glared at us. I did the thing experts say never to do to a predator. I made eye contact. It must have humanized me because without a word, he got back in his truck and sped away, squealing tires and burning rubber. With the tap of a horn, Bacon and I were almost road rage statistics. I’m glad Dodge Dakota doesn’t live in China where horns are honked in lieu of turn signals.
The next day at swim team practice, I’m sitting with a mommy friend when her six year old began to struggle in the middle of the pool. The coaches weren’t watching. Without lane lines, my friend’s daughter had nothing to grab hold of in water over her head. Mommy Friend went to the edge of the pool, and with calm words guided her child to safety. It was another near miss.
The young adults in charge were oblivious to the situation. I stalked to the far end of the pool and interrupted the ongoing conversation. I was angry and articulate. One of my friends describes this kind of tirade as “Ripping them a new one.” With words, I delivered the punch that Dodge Dakota wanted to give me the day before.
The child is fine. She was back in the pool within a few minutes, but I shook for hours. I hate conflict. Yet, given the stakes, I put myself squarely in the middle of it.