All the rage


Well, our long, hot summer is finally over.

OK, it wasn’t that long. Summer around here never is.

But if you don’t think it was hot, tell that to the woman who had a cup of hot coffee thrown at her while sitting in the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Junction one morning last July.

As she was sitting there alone with her laptop and a book, a hot-headed 70-year-old man started to berate her and question why she was there. When she had the audacity to defend her right to have a cup of coffee and mind her own business, the aging tough guy threw the large hot coffee he had just purchased in her face.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is toxic masculinity — as opposed to liking football, sports cars, rare steak and the opposite sex.

So, what did this manly man do after he gave this woman a coffee shower?

He ran, naturally – or tried to.

Fortunately, there were a couple of other men in the store — construction workers, I’m told. In other words, real men.

When Mr. Coffee tried to take off before police arrived, these men stood in front of his car blocking his exit. But this “gentleman” wasn’t done yet. He actually hit one of the men. Not with his fists, of course, but with his car as he tried to get away. But the men stood their ground. Police arrived and arrested our little hero.

From coffee shop rage to road rage in a matter of moments. Can somebody say “decaf?”

These kinds of rage incidents appear to be increasing. I witnessed two other examples of hot-under-the-collar behavior this summer. One was aimed at me. In the other case, I was in the line of fire between the rager and the object of his anger.

One afternoon, I was backing into the street from a driveway. Naturally, I checked for oncoming traffic. There were no cars within 100 yards, so I backed out and continued on my way. No driver doing a reasonable speed would have had to so much as tap the brakes as a result of my action.

But suddenly there was a white sedan within two feet of my rear bumper. The man behind the wheel had to have sped up to be on my tail that quickly. Apparently, he was trying to make some kind of point.

It was a pleasant day and the car windows were open so I could hear him screaming unpleasantries at me but I couldn’t make out the words, which is just as well. But since he was practically in my back seat, I could see his beet-red face in the rearview mirror.
I turned right onto the first side street. He followed. This was not good. I was determined not to acknowledge him or do anything to fan the flames.

But I had a feeling that my coming to a complete stop at the “Stop” sign up ahead would not sit well with him. (I have done so religiously since the last time I rolled through a “Stop” sign six years ago and it cost me $100).

I was right. When I paused for precisely one nanosecond at the “Stop” sign, he hit the horn and he hit the roof. He was now gesticulating wildly in addition to screaming bloody murder. He followed me through two more turns before mercifully breaking off the chase. Nobody’s all bad, apparently.

In the other incident, I was in heavy traffic. Nobody was going anywhere in a hurry, but the guy in the car immediately behind mind started honking his horn, making unambiguous hand gestures and yelling things that would make Tony Soprano blush.

For several blocks, I was sure that I was the object of his ire, but it turned out that it was a pickup truck driver several vehicles ahead of me who had offended him. As near as I could determine, the pickup truck had come from a street on the left and had scooted through a yellow light to get in the line of traffic that we were now in. The gentleman behind me did not approve of this action and was determined make the pickup driver aware of his feelings.

When we got to a wider part of the roadway, the guy in the car behind me passed on the right until he was beside the offending pickup. The rager got out of his car and called the pickup driver every name in the book.

As the angry man climbed back into his car, I heard the man in the pickup say, “Have a nice day.”

That’s one way to deal with these human rage machines on the roadways. An even better way, I’ve found, is to act like they don’t exist. Nothing irritates the horn-honking, headlight-flashing nutjob more than thinking he hasn’t succeeded in making you aware of his displeasure.

Dealing with coffee shop rage is a whole different matter.

I recommend an umbrella.

[This column originally appeared in the September 5, 2019 Wakefield Daily Item.]

One Response to “All the rage”

  1. 1 MaryAnn sciacca

    Oh dear….so sad when human being lose their civility!!!

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