My door was open. A free Thursday night during Winter break. Ibrahim was in the kitchen cooking and I was in my room with my door wide open.
The topic of the night was road rage.
It’s something my dad’s shown a lot of over the years and has rubbed off on my mom.
There was one moment over 10 years ago on our way to a family party where someone in a white pick-up truck had cut him off. As a family, my mom, sister, and I were annoyed. My sister and I, egged him on to catch up to the white pick-up.
We edged closer. And closer. And closer. We were passing. Just enough to pass him, got it! My sister and I cheered! My dad was beaming proud, and so began his ascent into an increasingly enraged driver.
Every time I’ve ridden in a car with them as an adult, my dad has not gone a car ride without yelling at someone or voicing his disapproval via blowhorn.
I always thought how he expressed himself was just related to how he hasn’t had much else go for him. It’s when all the mounting frustration of unemployment, not being the breadwinner of the family, and being socially isolated. How he controls the car is the one extension of himself where he can be like everyone else, and just be, respected.
Road rage is all about a violent disruption of expectation.
Gilbert had finished talking about how some Eastern European guy at a stoplight who wouldn’t let him enter his lane. At the stoplight, the only 2 cars on the road, Gilbert had rolled down his window and told the driver that he was an asshole. The Eastern European guy, a young big guy, muttered something in “Yiddish”, and appeared to get really riled up. Having some kind of stickshift, instead of punching the gas forward, he moved backward, hitting a car approaching behind him.
Ibrahim and I started talking about stick shift drivers and how we didn’t get them and how much they wanted to speed.
Our philosophy towards stick shift drivers is the same: go head dude, drive as fast and as bad you want, it’s all you.
He was talking about how these speedsters would sometimes get road rage and how they liked to pretend they were in a competition. It reminded him of his Cousin Ericks.
His Cousin Ericks Ibrahim said, “was a little mentally challenged.”
“He just didn’t have it all together.”
Cousin Ericks worked at a university. As a general jobs laborer.
Cousin Ericks was at a family party one time pointing out to another Cousin, Cousin Roger, how he saw him on the highway. Cousin Ericks was jubilantly pointing out how he’d passed Cousin Roger.
“Hey Cousin Roger, I saw you on the highway.
“Oh yeah?” Said Cousin Roger
Cousin Ericks quickly retorted, “Yeah, I was comin’ from behind, and I beat you, Cousin Roger!.”
“Uh, Cousin Ericks, did Cousin Roger know he was racing you?” interjected Ibrahim.
“Then, how could it be a race if he didn’t even know he was in it?”
“But cousin Ibrahim, you don’t understand, I outdid him!”