Friday, March 07, 2003

So I'm at the drive through, and it's lunch hour, so there's a nice long line, but it's a beautiful day, I've got Richard Thompson on the stereo, and life is good. As I get up to the window to pick up my food, it becomes clear that the line for the drive through is now so long that it goes completely around the building. In fact, the woman in the car in front of me can't go anywhere because of the cars blocking her in. I pull as far forward as I can, about half a car length (and I drive a Tercel, so half a car isn't much), and while that tiny gap is working its way back around the building, one of the people in the line that's blocking us realizes that she doesn't really want to be in the line for the drive through, so she pulls out of line. The guy who was behind her has apparently realized that if we can't go anywhere, he can't go anywhere, so he stays where he's at and makes a "go on through" motion, which the woman in front of me does. I follow, but I realize as I'm following that he started to pull forward as soon as she went through. And considering that he was starting from a dead stop, he got going fairly fast.

Now, as you already know, I drive a Tercel. Moreover, it's an old Tercel. Not ancient, but definitely not new. And because its value is dropping faster than my payments are cutting down my loan, I currently owe more than the car is worth. But I have "gap protection" from the bank, which means that if the car is totalled, I won't be stuck with the thousand dollars or so that I would still owe after the insurance paid the bank what they think its worth. Whereas if the engine just craps out on me, I'm screwed, which is why, I suppose, the thought that went through my head wasn't "Holy shit, this motherfucker's going to hit me!" so much as it was, "Hmph. This motherfucker's going to hit me."

But he didn't, of course. He stopped just shy of hitting me, leaving just enough room for me to squeeze through and get on with my life. I looked back as I drove off, and he was glaring angrily at me, middle finger extended. Naturally, I returned the favor, but I was (and am) more incredulous than angry. Sure, I suppose you could make an argument that I cut him off, that I should have waited, but this guy was pissed off at me because I made him wait an extra twelve seconds before he was able to pull forward about six feet. And then he would have been stuck there, because I was the head of the line, motherfucker, and if I'm not going anywhere, you're not going anywhere.

I can think of two possible explanations. Either, one, he resented me because I already had my food, and he was really, really hungry, or, two, he thought I was going to steal his place in line. And now that I think about it, an apple pie would have gone real nice with my freedom fries.

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