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  • Paula Tiberius

Never Get Out Of The Car

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. – Apocalypse Now

The other day Richard and I were taking the Goose on a play date barbeque afternoon soiree at our friends’ place in Hollywood. They are a lovely couple with a gorgeous little boy only five days younger than Violet. It was a hot day for this time of year, a lazy Saturday with no other agenda besides picking up some Rock Star and smokes for Richard along the way. I was high on caffeine and the good feeling of being a smug happy couple out with their toddler on the weekend. What could be more relaxing?

As Richard took the sweeping curve around the Silverlake reservoir, he furrowed his brow at the rearview mirror. “Take it easy, asshole,” he said into the mirror. Actually I can’t remember what he said exactly, but he says things like that. Anyway, I looked behind us, and there’s this nondescript sedan riding our ass like we’re dripping money out of our tail pipe. The guy behind the wheel was kind of this fuzzy-haired milquetoast type. He looked like he might have an extensive prog rock collection, but secretly love disco. He didn’t fit my tailgating stereotype, which I’ve formed over years of driving like a reasonable person. It’s usually some meat head type with a muscle car and a cross hanging from the rearview mirror – no disrespect to Christians intended. But nevertheless, this guy was a frickin’ douche bag. I started getting agitated.

As we cruised past the park with this guy on our ass, we reached the notoriously dangerous crosswalk where two other cars were already stopped as if waiting for someone to cross the street. Now, I should point out that it’s the law to stop at a crosswalk if other vehicles are stopped there, whether you can see a pedestrian or not. I guess the guy behind us hadn’t read his DMV manual recently because he started honking! Now I’m getting really upset. I completely forget that Violet now repeats everything I say immediately after I say it and begin shouting, “You fucking asshole!” I look behind us and he honks again! “It’s a fucking crosswalk you fucking asshole!” He couldn’t hear me or probably even see me, yet he then suddenly is giving me the finger with both hands! Is this guy for real? I honestly can’t believe it. If I were famous, I would have thought I was being Punk’d.

In his furious attempt to mow down potential pedestrians up ahead of our car, he swerved to go around us, but I could plainly see that he had nowhere to go. His window was open. “I’m getting out!” I reached for my door. And just as Richard’s saying, “Do NOT get out of the car!” I’m already out of the car, and face to face with Fuzzy who looked a bit surprised to see me. “It’s a cross walk!” I yell at him. “Why are you so angry?”

Okay, kind of a weird couple of things to say in the heat of the moment. In retrospect I should have said, “Babykiller!” and pointed to our innocent child in the back seat whom he could have rear-ended many times over in the last several blocks. But no, I questioned his state of mind. Given that I was standing in the middle of the street voluntarily opening myself up to this guy running me over, my own state of mind was also in question. But that didn’t stop me.

“I’m not angry!” he shouted back at me and then proceeded to execute the most dangerous, cocky move I’ve every seen, barely missing me, not to mention a giant black Lincoln Navigator on the other side and any pedestrians that were trying to cross. I got back in the car, shaking with anger and shouting further profanities. “Yeah right you’re not fucking angry, you fucking fuck!” I looked back at Violet who seemed relatively unruffled by the whole affair, save for a slightly furrowed brow. Being a genius, of course she knew something was up. Richard started driving and of course we end up right behind the guy, who was clearly trying to make his getaway. The second he could move out of the traffic he took off like a rocket down the first residential street.

As I began to calm down it dawned on me that I was going to have to look Richard in the eye and incur whatever lecture was forthcoming for my incredibly stupid move. I peeked in his direction and I could see him suppressing a smile. Good sign for me! I thought he might be truly upset, considering the baby in the car, and the fact that I yelled at him for ten minutes solid once when he leaned over and honked the horn on my behalf while I was driving. I HATE that.

I think he felt like he should lecture me, and so he did remind me that if any kind of fight had ensued it would have naturally dragged him into the fray, which would have been unfair considering that, unlike me, he was able to control his anger. But then he quickly sidetracked into a related topic, which involved advice about what I could have done if the guy had tried to get out of his car. Apparently, I should wait for the person to start getting out, then kick their door as hard as I can while they’re behind it. “Awesome! I’ll try that next time.” Richard squinted his eyes at me. “There ain’t gonna be a next time.”

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