“Get out of the way you stupid idiot! Where did you learn to drive? How did you get a license? Are you blind? Just go! The light is green!”
Yes, these were among the niceties I uttered while stuck in holiday traffic in Murfreesboro in the days before Christmas. I know, I know – what was I doing shopping out of town over Christmas? I asked myself the same thing as I sat snarled in traffic forever.
“I hate this town!” I screamed from my driver’s seat as I watched a lady texting in front of me instead of taking the turn signal, again leaving me to wait out another cycle of the traffic light as she accelerated just fast enough to leave me stranded by the red light. “Merry Christmas, you jerk. I hope Santa brings you a drivers license this year!”
Really, I’m a nice guy. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I’m usually smiling. I’ll wave at you if I see you in public and I’m not even running for office. I’m just happy-go-lucky – that is, until traffic steals my happy.
Now, I’m not a road rager. I’m not going to jump out of my car and beat on someone’s hood because they cut me off. That can get you shot in Tennessee where everyone carries a gun in their car. No, I’m more of a road screamer. I tend to vent inside the air conditioned privacy of my vehicle and I do refrain from telling other drivers they are “number one” by giving them a one-finger salute.
So, there I am, stuck behind a bunch of horrible drivers on the horrifically built road system in Murfreesboro, most of them driving like they’d already spiked the egg nog. I’m letting them have it seeing that only I know how to properly navigate the streets. In the back seat are my mother and my youngest son, Henry, listening to me rant.
“It’s not going to make them go any faster,” mom calls out from the backseat. “No reason for you to raise your blood pressure.”
Sure, back seat driving should calm me down. “It makes me feel better to rant,” I called back to mom. “And, by the way, I inherited my high blood pressure from you.”
I take some deep breaths and try to calm down when another dumb driver does something dumb since that’s what dumb drivers do.
“What an idiot!” I yell.
“Yeah. He’s an idiot!” I hear from behind me. “Why are all these idiots on the road?”
I look back and Henry has the same irritated expression as me as he continues his raving at the other drivers. He has inherited my dark side. I feel like Darth Vader.
“They’re all idiots!” he continues yelling, before a thoughtful pause. “Except for you, Daddy.”
I have to admit that in that instant I was both embarrassed for myself for setting a bad example and proud that Henry thinks I’m the only competent driver on the road.
“Daddy,” he then says.
“Yes son,” I respond.
“You can go now,” he calmly points. “The light is green.”
Standard reporter Duane Sherrill can be reached at 473-2191.