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Zero Sum Game

Sometimes, you can’t be a nice guy to one person without being an asshole to another.

Pulled up to the stop light I always do on the way home. I, who am apparently one of the only 1% people on the Earth who as the ability to look more than one car ahead of myself in traffic, was the fourth car at the light waiting to turn left. I notice the first car at the light was having engine trouble and couldn’t move. They appeared to have fixing it taken care of. So, the two people in front of me were stuck. Being the nice guy I am, I backed up so the two cars between me and the first guy could get in the other lane. As I was backing up, one of you other 99% comes barreling down on me not noticing that the first car was stalled. So, the two cars in front of me were sort of stuck halfway in the right lane. And I was stuck blocking the exit from a parking lot as one of the guys I was nice to was in front and the 99%er was behind me. I couldn’t go forward or back. I was trying to be a nice guy. After all, I could have just gotten in the right lane and left these two other people stuck where they were.

And, right on cue, a person is trying to exit the parking lot. And I’m blocking them in. While trying to be nice to one group of people, I was inadvertently an asshole to another person. They were pretty pissed. Started honking at me and pulling up really close to the side of my truck as if to intimidate me and let me know I was an asshole. The were in a conversion van so they were literally only about 5 feet from me. I gave them the I’m-sorry-wave-and-shrug. They kept honking, cussing at me from the window, and inching up on my truck. I thought to myself: Self, you could try to explain to these people that you were just trying to help the two people in front of you. They kept honking, cussing at me from the window, and inching up on my truck. I could have told them the perfectly reasonable explanation I had for being in their way and costing them 2 minutes of their life. They kept honking, cussing at me from the window, and inching up on my truck. I could have explained that I was actually a nice guy and sorry to have inconvenienced them but if I didn’t do what I did, this traffic light would back up forever and they’d never get out. They kept honking, cussing at me from the window, and inching up on my truck. Instead, I told them to fuck off.

10 Responses to “Zero Sum Game”

  1. Rustmeister Says:

    “God loves you” works, too. They expect fuck off, so when you lay that other one on them, it pisses them off even more.

  2. Guav Says:

    See, now if we were all armed to the teeth with fully automatic assault rifles that can go off at any minute like you crazy gun nuts desire, that would have been a bloodbath! IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE THE WILD WEST! GAAAH!

  3. SayUncle Says:

    They expect fuck off, so when you lay that other one on them, it pisses them off even more.

    Yeah, I usually blow kisses. Boy, that pisses people off.

  4. #9 Says:

    A copy of the Watch Tower or “Guide to Scientology” works quite well.

  5. GunGeek Says:

    In these cases, sometimes I “accidentally” stall the car. Much easier in a stick shift model, but one can always fake it in an automatic. It must be the added stress that makes me forget how to drive and then the poor car just quits running.

    Of course, I do the obligatory hands-in-the-air sign of frustration at my unfortunate circumstance and maybe even one of the mouthed “sorry” motions to the person that is so unlucky to have found themselves behind me during my predicament.

    Then, just as it gets to the last possible instant before the light turns red, I somehow manage to get the car started and make it through the light. Then the poor guy behind me ends up having to wait through another whole stoplight cycle before they can go. Awww. How sad.

    One side benefit to this is that it puts some distance between you after you tick them off.

    Not that I recommend anyone else do this…..

  6. markm Says:

    My Dad’s response to persistent honking was always to stop, set the parking brake, get out of the car, and wave like he thought it was some friend trying to get his attention. Drove the impatient crazy.

    It helped that Dad was rather large. He’d exit his GMC Carryall about like an average person would exit a VW Beetle. The sight somehow took the fight out of most men. 😉

  7. straightarrow Says:

    I have been known to exit the vehicle and approach the angry people and ask if there was anything I could do to help. Explaining all the while that it wasn’t an imposition as I couldn’t go anywhere anyway and if they needed help, I would sure try. Then say something like, “Don’t you just hate it when everybody gets so cranky for no really good reason.”

    Depending on how evil I feel, I might segue into discussions about tv, sports, traffic or whatever strikes my fancy. I once talked about ghosts I had met. I lied.

  8. straightarrow Says:

    I did lie. I only ever met one and he had been a friend of mine. Hell, come to think of it, he still is. I didn’t, however, talk about him. Too much respect for him to use him in such a cavalier manner.

    Now all of you think I’m nuts. I would think it of you, if you told me that. Doesn’t change it, though.

  9. PawPaw Says:

    The classic traffic conundrum isn’t a zero-sum game. If you are nice to one person, yet an asshole to a hundred, then you are a hundred times an asshole. You have endangered your mortal soul by inconveniencing all the motorists behind you.

    Yet the person stuck in the parking lot is there through his own choice. It’s all about personal responsibility. No one made him go into that parking lot. He chose to go there, and his penance is to sit there till traffic clears.

    By allowing someone into traffic, you create an offense against the rest of humanity. I will pray for you.

  10. homebru Says:

    Sign: “Please do not put me in fear for my life”