I almost backed into someone in a parking lot today – yay blind spot. When they started laying on the horn, I came to a dead stop at least two feet away from them. I know that even a slow-moving car in reverse can cover two feet pretty quickly, but the point is: contact was not made.
Well, not physical contact. The driver leaned out her window and started trying to contact me verbally immediately. I decided to put it in drive and just pull away.
She then pulled up alongside me at the point where the parking lot exits out onto the street, technically blocking the incoming lane so she could roll down her passenger side window and bellow at me. I finally decided I’d say a word to her. The moment my window opened even a little, all I was hearing over and over was “YOU ALMOST HIT ME! YOU ALMOST HIT ME!”
I waved – with all five fingers extended, I might add – and said “Sorry.”
“BUT YOU ALMOST HIT ME!” the other driver said, somewhere between angry and tearful.
“ALMOST SUE ME!” I shouted back with a shrug. I was more amused than genuinely angry.
For all I know, this woman has a nervous disorder, or panic attacks, or all of the above. I didn’t want to be any ruder than that. Then she waved at me – with just the one finger – and I realized that there was no disorder in play beyond her merely being an asshole.
What is it about our culture that we just love our little traumas? Mountains are tearfully made out of molehills on an annoyingly regular basis. Personally, I think it’s got not just a little to do with weepy “confessional” scenes built into nearly every “reality” TV show on the air right now. But the explanation on the ground floor is probably a lot simpler: it’s tied in, intensely, with the sense of entitlement-to-everything that pervades our culture even more deeply than the reality TV disease.
I think some people love their trauma and/or drama because then maybe folks will have to be nice to them, materially or otherwise, because in their world, the cosmic scales have to be restored to some kind of balance. I hate to tell them, but the universe doesn’t work like that. Despite our torted-up (as opposed to tarted-up) legal system which seems to reinforce the opposite view. Worse yet, it lessens the plight of those who really have been traumatized and those who really have been wronged. It’s like living in a village where every other boy is crying wolf while, on the outskirts of town, one boy really is being eaten by a wolf – but since he didn’t make enough noise to cut through the clutter, nobody notices and nobody helps.
This condition urgently needs curing. Please discuss.