And there was rain on the way. Gray clouds rolling in, the scent of fresh rainwater misting the air.
I was driving downtown, headed for the freeway. Moving over to my right, there was an older SUV several lengths behind me. He apparently took offense at my lane change, moved around to the right of me and tried to race around to slide back in front of my car. This, of course, did not sit well with me, so I kept my car at an even pace and refused to let him in.
As Judge Judy would say, “That was your mistake, your stupidity. A sane person would have let it go.” And that’s exactly where she hits the nail on the head with that little gavel of hers. We’re all living in this powder keg, together, and all is not harmonious. Insanity is a much bigger reality today than fifty years ago when “road rage” was a three year old having a tantrum in the back seat of the Buick.
Sanity is never a claim I’d take to the bank.
A good fight isn’t something I ever go looking for, but generally won’t back down when it kicks me in the shins either. So, when I saw the beefy tattooed arm shaking at me through the window with an obnoxious flair, my instincts shoved my sanity out the window. Wrong move, because the chase that ensued put not only my life in danger, but those of the drivers around us. The blood-boiled haze that blocked out anyone else on the road blinded me, as I let Bandita perform at her angriest. Darting and weaving through the thick traffic, dangerous memories spurred me on until, at 95 mph, realization that I would likely be at fault for pursuit forced me to let the driver speed off.
My shimmering emerald Firebird is my shadow, my machinistic soulmate. Roger, my husband, has felt many regrets at his matchmaking when he presented her to me upon my thirtieth birthday We’ve grown up together in the last ten years. She’s been rebuilt on three of her four sides, and we’ve nursed each other back to health after the accidents, each worse than the last. .
Bandita was patient as she waited for my fear to subside and I could slip once more behind her wheel with minimal waves of panic. It seemed she understood why I needed to abandon her for the safety of our big, intimidating truck. She’s protective of me to a fault, with instincts just like my own that won’t let anyone else on the road rev her up without good reason.
If you’ve got a fiery woman, never do her wrong – especially when she’s holding a matchbook…
Unresolved anger is a very dangerous thing. It can eat away at the soul of a person like a rust corrodes the strongest of metals. It lies dormant, lingering until someone itches your trigger finger and with no warning, there lie the jagged pieces in a volcanic mess.
It gets so exhausting trying to maneuver around, like a soldier – always in stealth mode, waiting for the next land mine to trip. Seems a soldier is always fighting a war that isn’t theirs, but they pick up their guns and begin a new day anyway.
Five years ago, I nearly lost my husband in a hit and run accident. A truck came rushing through the night and plowed right through us, never stopping, never looking back, never to be seen again. A two second difference and he would have been torn in bits. I nearly lost my life that evening, and… I nearly lost my life.
I drive through that intersection every day. The perfect circle on the faded road haunt me with its almost artistic dark, rubber stain.
Unresolved anger –in Roger’s eyes every time he sees a champaign colored Toyota truck, his eyes skimming the front end for damage, quietly because he thinks I don’t see. In my own mind every time someone around me runs through a red light.
And now someone has taken Bandita away from me. My empowering moment of sing-along at the top of my lungs to songs like Superwoman was cut short by the carelessness of another, and the damage is significant. I don't think she'll make it this time, and it's a loss that frightens me. My best friend, my companion in my strongest moments, who had protected me through five accidents in as many years, all at the careless hands of others, is on life support.
She's repairable, but at what cost? Euthanasia is sometimes more humane. Maybe she's tired of fighting the war too. Maybe her anger has subsided where mine has only grown.
My gas pedal is my trigger, the white lines of the road and the faint edge of sanity is what keeps my foot from taking aim.
© Kymberlie Ingalls, February 22, 2012 Updated: March 19, 2013
Lyrics: Mama’s Broken Heart / Miranda Lambert
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