I nearly got into a fistfight today, and I’m wondering what folks think of the situation that led up to it.
I should say first that, generally, unecessary noise annoys the hell out of me. When honking wedding parties go past, my reaction is not one of “Oh, young love! A wedding! How nice!” I tend to think, “Jesus, what a bunch of assholes.” This may make me a Grumpy Gus, but it’s never presented much of a problem for me, because the nice thing about this processions is that they’re, well… proceeding. Since their rate of travel assures me that it will be, at most, a passing annoyance, I put a brave face on it, and will even smile at folks as they go by, in a politic attempt at trying to hide from them the unpleasant truth about my estimation of their happy company.
During my perambulations today, however, I encountered such a party at a stoplight. A long stoplight, since they were on a lightly trafficked street perpendicular to major thoroughfare. Six cars honking makes a rather impressive noise. It made a bad impression on me. This was in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, and there was a large number of people within a few feet of all this noise. Some were visibly annoyed, not the least of which were the parents of two infants in strollers who were compelled to remove themselves and their suddenly crying children some distance away while waiting for the light to change.
Since it seemed clear that the party was oblivious to the annoyance they were causing, I thought it might be helpful to telegraph it to them. I covered my ears. Mistake. They seemed to think this was funny. Almost as a body, they left off their beep-beep-beeping and switched to holding their horns down for prolonged blasts.
I removed my hands from my ears, the better to give them the finger with.
Now the lights have changed, and the line starts creeping forward. Drunken young people are now rolling down their windows, (which they had presumably rolled up in order to insulate themselves from the godawful din they were creating, since it’s a nice sunny and warm day,) to tell me off. “This is a wedding, asshole!”
I responded in kind. The last car had a single occupant, who leaned over and made the universal knuckle-dragger “You wanna go?” gesture. (Verbal communication was ruled out, since all of his windows were rolled up.) I looked him up and down and decided, atypically, that actually, yes, I did want to fight this guy. (I haven’t been in a proper fist-fight since I was a youth.) It would have pleased me no end to bloody up his rented tux, even if the greater part of the blood was mine, as, in all honesty, would likely be the case. I gestured for him to by all means, bring it on.
All the other cars had gone straight-- he turned right pulled just around the corner, stopped in the right-hand lane, and started to get out. As I was walking toward him, he thought better of it, and got back in. (Not because I possess a particularly menacing aspect, mind, but because he realized that he was about to leave his car in the path of traffic.) He drove off, and I walked on, expecting him to double back and pick things up again. He didn’t turn up, and eventually I stopped and got a cup of coffee to calm down and reflect.
Am I a total jerk bent on ruining nice young people’s “Special Day,” or merely a non-saint for responding angrily to some self-absorbed pricks’ total lack of circumspection and consideration?
I just don’t know, and would appreciate being enlightened either way.