Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Road Rage!

Croton Falls, NY has become quite a little hub of commuter activity. There's a Metro North station, and routes 202 and 22 converge, along with Croton Falls Road and Stoneleigh Ave. It will never be confused with midtown Manhattan, but with one traffic light and these roads, it gets a bit crazy at rush hour.

This morning, I was at the end of Croton Falls Road, preparing to turn right onto New York route 22 south, where I could go to Interstate 684 (about a mile or two away), or continue on 22 towards Purdy's, Goldens Bridge and so on (The exact location is in the picture at the top of this entry). Sitting at the intersection, obscuring oncoming traffic from me in the southbound lanes, was a box truck. That made turning a bit hazardous, but I figured as long as I watched for an opening, I could "gun" it and be fine.


I saw my opening, hit the gas pedal, and realized that there was some kind of black ice or wet road or something. At that moment, a white Dodge pickup truck came upon me. I had two choices - sit there or continue on. Neither option was great, but I went for the latter. Believe me, he wasn't going to hit me.

Yet this is where things got fun (or scary, depending on your interpretation).

The truck came up behind me and gave me a single-finger salute. I chose to not get mad at this, as I knew what I had done could be defined as wrong. I wasn't trying to be some "yuppie punk." I just knew I was in no-man's land. So I put my hand up as a way of saying "my bad." I think that made things worse, because he (who we might now call "Satan") gave me a two-handed, single-finger salute. WOW! Let's see if I've got this straight: I hadn't caused an accident. I wasn't responsible for stopping Earth's rotation. Best as I could tell, it wasn't even my fault that the Jets lost, yet here I was, now deserving of a "double bird." So I chose to do what any irrational human being would do.

Gave it right back to him.

Oops...my bad.

This is where the story could have gone way off. In fact, had "the old me" gone the way I might have gone, I wouldn't be typing right now. I would be probably convalescing at Putnam Hospital Center, back on Stoneleigh Ave. But Rational Rob stood up and talked some sense into me. "Dude", he said, "it's not worth it. There's no point in our pulling over to explain to him that it was a mistake. You might not even get the words 'my bad' out of your mouth before a paw the size of his tire lands in it. Just keep driving."

I'm not a violent person. I think my last fight might have been in 1985 or so, with Steve Feldman, who I think was missing a cog or two. That taught me a lot about sports fans - that there are many idiots out there who double as "fans" (and Mets ones, at that). In the past, I might have pulled over to try and explain that it was "my bad." But what good could have come from it? Probably none, so I kept driving.

And what a fun drive it was!

As I continued down southbound route 22, I could see our satanic friend, constantly using his signals to try and get me to turn into some parking lot. Or he'd keep motioning to me to get me to turn. Neither worked on me. The only thing I did was shake my head at him at one point. Then I watched him punch his fist into his palm. Who was this douche bag, Iron Mike Tyson?

Excuse me, ladies, but that term has become a perfect adjective for the all-encmpassing A-hole. And this way, I don't have to type "a-hole." I guarantee Mick will now give me shite for not being potty-mouthed (yet perhaps he should worry about his own blog...or not).

Eventually we came to that proverbial fork in the road - Hardscrabble Road and Interstate 684 are straight ahead, and route 22 goes to the right. Not wanting to show my hand, I waited and then signalled to head onto 22 - wrong call. He followed, speeding up behind me at times, and then weaving and spinning his tires at other times. When we stopped at the traffic light for New York route 116 in Purdy's, I had to make sure that he didn't jump me, or ram me.

The weaving and flat-out dangerous driving continued to the next town - Goldens Bridge. I suppose I could have called the cops, but why am I going to break the law to use a handheld cell phone? To hook up my headset at that point seemed unnecessary. I had to keep my eyes on the road, and the nitwit in the white Dodge.

Finally, in Goldens Bridge, I made the decision to jump on New York route 138, which would take me over to Interstate 684. I felt my options were better on 684 if he followed. Thankfully he raced past me and I just ignored him.

Again, I could have called the cops when I got to work, but what would have been the point? Instead, I can write about it here, give you all a laugh, and publish his LICENSE PLATE NUMBER!!

So white Dodger pickup truck, with New York license plate AFL-8876 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

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