i want to live... i do not want to die


the paradox of road rage

someone finds themselves in a dangerous situation
they feel as if their life/safety has been threatened
so they respond in a manner that increases the danger
taking the risk of their own life and others to a higher level

that is pretty much what happened to me this morning
(and many mornings before)
no... I am not talking about my short morning commute
I am talking about my efforts to cross the street in front of my house with my dog
which used to be dogs...
and is sometimes with my two small children

this morning when I left the house to go walk the dog I stood on the curb and watched up hill traffic speed ferociously past
as I waited for downhill traffic to get the double red at the top of the hill
once the downhill traffic had the double red I waited for a few red light runners to pass
then for the uphill side of the road to be clear then I crossed
like a game of frogger... I made it across without being squashed

got into the woods of Rock Creek Park
did a short 20 minutes with my black dog Brutus on a set of trails that never get so much as a glance from the National Park Service

once back from my walk with the dog I waited on the curb for the same formula
double red at the top of the hill and clear traffic coming up the hill
sure... I will cross if it is clear, but that is unlikely during rush hour
as this is a major commuter artery

I watched the drivers speed up the hill
looked into each car and imagined what sort of person was behind the wheel
there were all sorts of people of all races, ages, sex, and economic distribution
with the red light at the top of the hill
I waited for things to clear
the last few up hill cars past
the last few red light runners past
so I started across the street

as I got to the center of the street I saw a Cadillac Escalade come barrelling through the light
never slowing for the red
I continued and finished my way across the street
in a casual less than aggressive sort of way I issued the bird

there was no slowing or braking of the this oversized SUV
but once at the base of the hill I saw this gold Caddy stop and head back up the hill
without hesitation I went for the cell phone
9-1-1 send
this same car went past to the peak of the hill at a rational pace and turned back down
by this time I am talking to the operator
waiting to see if things escalated with the Escalade I talked with the operator
like a scene from Boys in the Hood 2006 the SUV with tinted glass rolled on past
never did I make eye contact
never did I see the driver
I did not see the race, age, sex, or the economic distribution of the driver
yet... my heart raced
immediately I regretted the issueing of the bird

humility and righteousness
when wrong... people should be humble
when right... people have a right to be righteous

I am not sure there would have been the opportunity for a discussion to make this driver realize that we were involved in a situation of ACTION and REACTION
it was his action of speeding and running the red light that caused my reaction
to this person... it may have been simply my action that was an issue

just as I was angered by the threat that this driver caused to me... my family... and anyone else on my block
I was then angered at myself for being short sighted
cussing and flipping people off never goes well
that is no way to start a conversation
although I am sure that this person does not want people speeding past his family on his street
this person may not be able to transfer the dynamics of the situation
as time passes it is unlikely that this person will retrace their steps
more than likely they are fixated on my actions
never reflecting on their own

this is their commuter route
they will pass me again
worse yet
they will pass my wife and children
maybe even my wife and children with my dog
there is the chance that this person may hold their resentment towards me an my flipping them off

it was foolish for me to flip this person off
it is foolish for me to flip anyone off
but... I am male.... I am rash... I am stupid
I never learn

time to let this episode go...
time to get on with my day...
time to get on with my life...


Anonymous said...

Do you pick up after your dog in Rock Creek Park?

One day you are going to get shot.

gwadzilla said...


I let the shit fall where it may....

I do pick up trash
try to stay on the trail
and do all sorts of trail repair and maintenance

I understand that I leave a "foot print"
and that the activity of my dogs leaves "a foot print"

I try to balance the scales


I need to be careful
as I do not want to get shot

Anonymous said...

Yes you are far from a peaceful person. You leave your foot print around quite a bit. I bike quite a bit and I drive quite a bit. I have not had a problem with anyone on the road. Your finger will get you shot. We also pick up after our two dogs. I only wish one thing for you. If there is shooting that it happens to you and not your family as a result of your behavior.

Akilles said...

the feeling is one of "what the hell can I do about this". flipping someone off satisfies our personal, emotional need. we are angry, and most of the time justifiably. until we think about it.

its humiliating because there really is nothing else for us to do. lobby the local political forces to install speed bumps and stop signs and other devices that people will contunue to disrespect?

don't think so.

i have a problem with people parking in fron of my house. one day I defensively parked our unused car (soon to be sold or junked) as a place holder. I was approached a week later by the guy across the street. He wanted me to move it because at his home they have 6 cars and they need the sapce to park.

i thought about my family of four living with one car, my velocommuting to work, etc. I wanted to laught at the guy and walk off.

I moved my car.

gwadzilla said...

I try to control my "reactive nature"

the car that got flipped off...
I was not flipping of that car as an individual
that car got flipped off as that car was the 101 car to piss me off for the same action

well... I am not actually counting
but I am sure you get the idea
there had been a number of cars before that car on this day and days prior
those cars did not get a response
but... car number 101
they get the bird

as far as my riding and your riding...


people may respond different to you than to me
did someone yell to you.... "Get off the road!"
well.... they yelled it to me
so I responded
to I respond to each and every car that honks or yells...
but... on that day I was a victim of my knee jerk reaction
or maybe that is my "I am a jerk reaction"

my reactions would not occur
if it were not for their initial action

as far as picking up for your dog in the woods
more power to you
that is better for the enviroment
I have chosen not to pick up in the woods
but... pick up on the street/curbs/parks etc

with the parking....

I will leave notes or make comments
usually trying not to cuss or yell
the parking issue pisses me off
no where near as much as the speeding and red light running which transcends into lack of concern for pedestrian rights

if the cars ran the light, sped down the block, then yeilded to pedestrian traffic
well... it would be a different issue
the cars do not slow for anyone or anything

often going around breaking the double yellow line to pass a car pulling out
nearly crushing pedestrians or having a head on collision with another car

serenity now
serenity now

gwadzilla said...


the comments...

again with my combative nature
quick to react
quick to retaliate

quick let my heart rate raise

Anonymous said...

There once was a teacher who asked his students to start to fill a jar with rocks and asked them to start with the BIG rocks and then the next smaller size and so forth and so on. As the students came to him he sent them back over and over to fill in the smaller spaces with smaller and smaller rocks. When their exercise was finished he told them if you spent your life filling the jar with small rocks first where will the large rocks fit? The things that bother you all small. Try to focus on the large things. Try to become more peacefull. Your logic is suspect. Letting your dogs go at will in Rock Creek is no better than the paper/trash or cigarette litter. Peace ;)

Anonymous said...

The rules and regulations that cover Rock Creek Park are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Parts 1 to 199 (36CFR) and the Superintendent's Compendium.

24. Is my dog allowed in the park?
Dogs are allowed in Rock Creek Park as long as they are on a leash. Owners must pick up after their dogs or be subject to a $500 fine.

gewilli said...

i'm pretty damn mellow - on the bike lately...

but still...

the only people who don't have run-ins with cars and idiot drivers don't ride much... don't live where density is an issue... don't really actually use the bike as REAL transportation. Don't think first "can i run this errand with the bike" and jump right in the car...

picking up dog poop in a park? as long as the dog ain't poopin on the trail... the poop serves to nourish the soil... so suck on that...

and gwadzilla baby man! DUDE lay off the finger... NEXT TIME...

just wave at them... acknowledge that you noticed they are a fucking retard... but don't call em a fuckwad with your finger...

drivers get really confused when they know they've done something stupid and agressive and you just wave at them...

drivers expect you to get mad, wave a fist, yell... flip them off...

they don't expect a wave of "hey, i noticed you"

if ya have to tape your middle finger to the ring finger - just WAVE... with all four fingers...

Anonymous said...

"g" like your comments on biking, waving is the answer!

As far as dogs pooping...sure not on trails would be favorable...but when they are not on leashes and they are running ahead or behind you have no idea "where" they have pooped. Also, seeing how your dog is pooping is part of being a responsible dog owner....can see if he or she is sick...has blood in stool etc....just too many people out there with kids and dogs that should not have them.

Anonymous said...

"g" like your comments on biking, waving is the answer!

As far as dogs pooping...sure not on trails would be favorable...but when they are not on leashes and they are running ahead or behind you have no idea "where" they have pooped. Also, seeing how your dog is pooping is part of being a responsible dog owner....can see if he or she is sick...has blood in stool etc....just too many people out there with kids and dogs that should not have them.

Alberto said...

We all have a bad day and we're learning all the time. Let's try not to flip, that's all. (Easier said than done, I guess.) By the way I also don't pick after my dog anymore than I pick after birds, raccoons and elephants, for God's sake.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a big part of the problem

"Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Parts 1 to 199 (36CFR)"

Is this what we've come to? Rote obligation to federal regulations? This is ridiculous.

I can search federal regulations and find all manner of things that don't make sense, aren't enforced, etc etc.

The question here is -- would you drive slower if you knew the consequences? I like the idea that a wave accomplishes a better result. Most people, if they saw kids playing in the street would slow down. Or saw a dog running through. Very few would intentionally put people at harm. But cars are insulating and esp. with modern cars -- you can drive VERY fast and not even know it.

I think shame and guilt are very powerful. why not post signs that say "do you want to injure a child today? slow down!"

I mean, heck, guilt and shame have been working for parents for thousands of years, why not try it on speeders?

As for dog poop. Please. This is all politically motivated. When i grew up, dogs pooped on everyone's yard and you just lived with it. it was part of growing up, stepping in dog poop occasionally. Now everyone has these little silly signs in their yard that say "scoop your poop."

I can't believe anyone would suggest that you pick up your dog because of some obscure federal reg!!! This is totally motivated by the fussy yuppy dog lobby and has nothing to do with safety, the environment or any real reason -- simply that people don't want dog poop on their LL Bean gumboots.

unbelievable. whoever posted this is probably a speeder. or a liberal. or a speeding liberal.

pedalmaniac said...

What is scary about the situation is that the driver of the Escalade didn't have time to stop at the red light but did have time to circle back. It is a strange, strange world.

I always wave

Anonymous said...

Since smart @ss is picking and chosing what laws we should follow, I hope if he/she gives the finger they get shot.

Just so happens Joel is a liberal, so you are cutting on the blogger. Funny--

gwadzilla said...

no one deserves to be shot

nothing would be learned from that

and yes

on many sides I am a liberal
while on others... I can be conservative

Anonymous said...

Your a liberal, but typical of a liberal ashamed to admit it. You automatically hate cars with a "W" on them. You judge more than anyone on this blog. I think I am productive in spinning you like a top. You talk high and mighty but you pick and choose the laws that you think merit your attention. Then you have your dead head bikers come to your rescue making similar arguments to yours. Its idiotic. You have much talent and your wasting it. I've seen your type in school 100X over...too bad....your gifted and instead of putting your energy towards your creative juices you get all tangled up in a car incident that you provoked. You live in DC, its a city, wait for the drivers and cross safely with your children. Let the @ssholes go and focus on building a killer bike or getting real sponsors for this site. Ah, enough with you! Your a waste.

Anonymous said...

Some people say you were the one to be shot. however, i don't think so. if i were you, i would have flipped the person off as well. if they had come back to try and run me over, i most likely would have tried to kill them. These are fucked up times in our world. and i believe in justice. i believe in kill one, save a thousand. but maybe that's just me...