In an earlier post I’ve written about our attempt at trying slow down speeders on our little street. We have spoken with our police department, the town manager and public works about it. We went to the board of selectmen meeting to present our ideas for how to slow traffic, and have spoken with neighbors who are also upset about the inherent danger speeding presents.
We also brought up the fact that one of our major streets will be closed most of the summer due to repairs. This and the fact that we now have two new condo buildings in town ready for habitation, there will be much more traffic. Nothing has come of it.
Although both ends of our street are clearly posted 25 MPH, way too many folks drive through at what appears to be about 35 – 40 MPH. As there are no sidewalks and the street is only 24′ wide, it makes speeding a real danger for our elderly, our children, our pets, our walkers and bikers. We have already had too many near misses, and are dreading the time when something terrible happens.
So, the Crankee Yankee, being the stand-up guy that he is, has attempted to caution speeders by hollering “SLOW DOWN!” at them while working in the front yard. However, generally people who speed are aware that they are doing so, and do not like being reminded of it.
The other morning a woman drove by (pretty fast), and he yelled at her to slow down. She screeched her car to a stop, slammed out it, stormed up to him and started screaming at him. Her diatribe included words to the effect that she was actually driving the 25 MPH (doubtful), that she would prefer that the Crankee Yankee would stop talking, that she didn’t need his sh*t that day, then challenged him to take a swing at her.
This was all laced with loud and colorful language including many f-bombs, all delivered at decibels you really don’t want to hear early in the morning. Once she vented her spleen, she cursed some more, then stomped back to her car and screeched off.
Look—I will be the first to agree that most people don’t appreciate being yelled at, so I get the anger. What I saw when that woman jumped out of her car was someone who was on her last nerve. When the Crankee Yankee jumped on that last nerve, she snapped. In retrospect—because I was frankly too shocked to do a thing about it while it was happening—I would have liked to have had a few words with her myself. I would have liked to ask her what was going in her life that would make her react so violently.
Ok, so maybe that would have been bad timing; she was obviously not in the state of mind to chat. But it made me think: how many people turn to anger, swearing, throwing things, and so on because they feel they have no other outlet to disperse their frustrations?
Anger can come from anything; fear, frustration, helplessness, sorrow, grief–you name it. I know that when I get angry, it is mainly from frustration and the fact that the world, for that day anyway, is firing one aggravation after another at me.
So, putting myself in that angry woman’s shoes, I would guess that there are any number of stressful situations going on with her. She may be going through a divorce. She may have lost a loved one. She may have just lost her job. She may have gotten a bad diagnosis.
Or she could have just been looking to fight with someone that day. It doesn’t matter what the cause is–the outcome was sheer undiluted anger, directed at the first person who ticked her off that day. That morning it was the Crankee Yankee.
Who really knows what’s going on inside someone else? Although I despise yelling and scenes such as this, I can’t help wondering how that woman is doing today. If I saw her face-to-face today, would I speak up or pretend I didn’t see what I saw and heard what I heard?
Today I have no answers. All I know to do is to try hard not to take on someone else’s pain. I will wish her well and hope that things are better for her today. And in case you have the idea that I am some kind of saint for feeling this way–DON’T. I am doing this for my own peace of mind. Today I turned 65, and frankly, I don’t need any more aggravation than I’ve got already.