Don’t be a dick.
I’ve always felt like there is a certain community amongst strangers. Not in any more literal sense than in the fact that we’re all ostensibly humans, however. Humans with their own peculiar problems and foibles, and as Vonnegut says, you’ve got to be kind. This sense has always manifested itself in weird ways with me; it’s not just in the fact that I say please when I ask for things and thank you when I get them. It’s like there’s a code, you see, between other people and I. I follow the rules, you follow the rules, I be civil, you be civil, and the world wins.
There’s nothing as satisfying as meeting other people who follow these rules, and this strangers code can often be seen in the way cars interact with each other and pedestrians. Observe, if you will, this timeless example of two men’s paths intersecting. I am driving my minivan in Salem, and a middle-aged man waits to cross the street. I see him and pause my car. I give him a thumbs up, “You may cross, good sir. A fine day to you.”
The man gives me a wave, a silent ‘Thank you benevolent stranger. May your sons grow tall and your daughters be fertile.’
Pause. Wave. Wave. Everyone happy. I lost a couple of seconds, that guy gained a couple. Net effect on everyone’s time is 0 seconds, but net gain in kindness is positive. Surely that man went home and told his wife and sons about the benevolent, bespectacled young man who graciously paused for him, sacrificing his own time for another’s. That kid’s going places, he will say.
The whole process is unhinged when you run into someone who is a fucking dick. There are people who violate those rules with impunity, shitting on passersby around them with what can be nothing other than militant ignorance or pure malice. Fuck every one of those people. Will I do anything to them? No, I’m too lazy to honk and the sound hurts my ears. But I will consign each and every one of them to the depths of hell.
If a human steps in front of my car against the light I will wish such destruction upon him that I would not find it surprising if he burst into flame before my eyes. Death would be his salvation, mere loss of job or money hopelessly tame. I will his life to unravel in hideous fashion, friends and loved ones cut down like so many stalks of wheat before the autumn scythe of God’s judgment until at last, broken and poor and alone, that fucking dick takes to the streets, a hopeless nomad bereft of kith and kin, a child of such woe and misfortune that his life will serve as nothing more than a warning to others, men who will point and say ‘Wow that guys life sucks, we should probably stop at red lights and not be dicks.”
Mine is a righteous rage. One of my happiest memories of justice done came on a ride to a soccer game with my dad several years ago. A group of 20-somethings were in a car that was weaving in and out of traffic, easily doing 90 to everyone else’s 75. They were shitty people, and I wished them harm. Several miles later traffic slowed to almost a stop. As we kept driving forward there were several cars, unharmed but with their warning lights on, littered along the side of the road. As we went further, I saw the crippled wreck of those douchebags car, slammed (somehow) head first into the median guard-rail protecting us from the other lane. Such a feeling of triumph and faith in justice I have rarely known.