The problem: I was driving home when I stopped at a corner for a red light. The light turned green almost immediately, but I waited to turn right to allow a pedestrian to safely cross the street. When I turned the corner, the driver behind me whipped around and into the lane directly next to me, made some very angry gestures, shouted something, then gunned it, essentially racing me to the next light.
I felt like laughing because he got caught at the next stop light right next to me. Maybe he didn’t see the pedestrian. Maybe my car was blocking his view. Maybe something else was going on in his life and he wasn’t really wigged out about being delayed 30 to 60 seconds. How should I have reacted?
Low road: Sympathetically catch his eye, mouth the words, “Flat tire,” and point to the back of his car. After he gets out of his car to check, it’s your turn to gun it.
High road: Sadly, people do get wigged out by being delayed 30 seconds. He owes you a debt of gratitude for slowing him down and preventing him from barreling into the intersection to potential tragedy.
We could assume that his lively hand signals were his humbled attempt to do just that — an “Arrival”-esque language of universal peace across galaxies and time. But let’s not be ridiculous.
You took the high road by laughing — always good for the soul — and by giving him the benefit of the doubt. If he was distracted by stress, he likely already regrets his action. If he’s a seasoned road-rager, you were wise to drive off, and not throw additional gas on that flame.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad