Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Missed Connections: The Guy Who Flipped Me the Double (!) Bird on Industrial Blvd.: You Give Me Life!

You were wearing Wayfarers and riding in the passenger seat of a tan, late 90’s-model American SUV, which was merging at the intersection of Glacier Highway and Industrial Boulevard where Glacier turns into a one-lane road. 

I was in my forest green, beater 138,000 mile Subaru Forester with two 9 year-old girls--one in the front seat, one in the back, and a trunk full of bikes and camping crap.

I had to make a rather rapid choice (as one must at that particular intersection) whether to slow down and let you in (or in this case your girlfriend (?) who was driving), or rather speed up and get out in front of you.

I hesitate to use the verb “cut” in front, because that verb (if you're familiar with that part of speech) tends to have a pejorative connotation (if you’re familiar with that particular adjective and noun, or those parts of speech more generally) that isn’t exactly apt here. 

Really the choice one makes at that intersection—to get out in front or drop back—at least in my case, has less to do with an aggressive assertion of driver dominance and more with safety and split-second instinct. After all, I am a 40 year-old mother of two and my primary interest when I drive anywhere in Juneau is getting there safely and making sure my route intersects with the Lemon Creek Breeze-In so I can obtain a packet of Swedish Fish and three chicken tacos.

In this particular instance, I decided to get out in front as opposed to drop back. And what you did in that moment gave me such joy, such pleasure, and such a sense of just being HOME that I needed to reach out and find you again.

You gave me the finger, and not just one finger—but TWO. You hoisted both middle fingers on each of your hands high in the air, where I could clearly see them through my rear-view mirror, and you held them in position there for a good 30 seconds to be certain I wouldn’t miss the gesture.

I didn’t. I loved it. And if you can do that with just two fingers, who knows what else you can do with the rest of your hands BOWM CHICKA BOW WOWM, AMIRITE?!!?!

Since I live in Juneau (and presumably you do as well?) where people rarely honk, much less indulge in road rage, I frequently find myself pining wistfully for the gratuitous public hostility of my youth in New York City.

There, screaming SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!! out your 9th story window at a blaring car alarm was a common early morning salutation, and one’s middle finger was always ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice on the subway, street corner, or certainly—in a car. Indeed, my children's finest memory of visiting their grandparents in NYC is when, in their telling, grandpa Nicky inquired of a belligerent pedestrian on the corner of 42nd Street and 9th Avenue in Manhattan, "You Wanna 'F-Word' With Me 'A-S-S-Hole?!'" 

This came on the heels of someone—perhaps an acquaintance of yours—recently screaming at my 6 year-old son from the window of a pickup truck that he was being a “little jerk” for holding a street-crossing flag in a confusing manner. It really just made my heart melt in homesick nostalgia; although if I'm honest, "little shit" would have sounded more authentic.

The way you rode (or got your girlfriend to ride?) my ass for six more miles until I pulled into the parking lot of Auke Bay Elementary School just so we could maybe exchange numbers and I could finally introduce myself. Well, heh heh, that really set my little heart a-flutter, but you sped on, content to let your two middle fingers do the talking. 

I wasn’t quick enough with my phone to snap a picture of your face or license plate, but I was able to do a quick sketch artist's rendering of your two beautiful middle fingers. I know my husband might not like me reaching out like this, so I am going to put this For yoU in Code, in language that I Know YOU will understand.



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