I parallel parked with, I thought, impressive efficiency, quickly getting out of the way of a pickup pulling a trailer, but the truck slowed to a stop alongside me and a college-age white guy in the passenger seat motioned for me to roll down my window. “Hey, man,” the scraggly kid said, motioning vaguely behind us, speaking in a mock-sorrowful tone, “I think some nigger must’ve put an Obama bumper sticker on your car.”
I gave them the bird as they drove off.
For a long second the anger percolated. I told myself to let it go, to take the it’s-not-worth-it-and-walk-away route, but doing nothing, in that moment, seemed untenable, even wrong. I felt I had to act, to do something, almost anything. I needed to make an impression on these assholes. I didn’t know what I would say or do, but I pulled out into traffic and chased after them.
It took me almost 2 miles but I caught them at the intersection of Claiborne and Carrollton avenues, idling at a red light. I eased up alongside them and rolled down my window.
“I just wanted to make sure you two stupid motherfuckers were leaving Orleans Parish,” I said.
They pointed ahead to Jefferson Parish.
I noted they seemed to be transporting lawn cutting equipment. “So, you guys are lawn boys, huh?”
They stared silently at me, clearly not enjoying my connotative play.
“Lawn boys, that’s all you are. A couple lawn boys.”
In this fashion I proceeded to berate and belittle them. At one point, by way of defense, one of the guys blurted, “(Obama’s) ruining the country!” and I shot back, “And you two cracker jackasses are going to fix it?”
I said they were cutting lawns probably because they were too stupid to finish college, and we back and forth about that for a bit, it seemed to be a soft spot, and as they pulled away when the light turned green, the guy in the passenger seat had a good portion of his body out the window to yell back at me, pumping his fist, “I will finish college!”
The ugly monsters in these guys released the ugly monster in me.
I chased after them with burning need to cause them psychic pain. I resorted to shameful class-based put-downs. I wrote them off as people and only wanted to make these assholes think twice about pulling such a stunt again, at least in New Orleans.
But by meeting hate with hate I only fed the monsters, mine and theirs.
Yes, but anger is so much fun if the red necks don’t pull an Easy Rider on you. This is why I listen to AC/DC with the windows rolled up.
No, no, no, Jimmy G. That is why you should roll the windows down. Put on Powerage and blast them away with some Sin City. This is how I deal with annoying yuppies on the L. Let that beautiful noise bleed out of my earbuds.
Derek, your experience reminds me of a time when I confronted some deranged homeless man on the L who was yelling at everyone and no one in particular. I finally told him to shut the f up, only to realize I was only making matters worse for everyone. It wasn’t registering in his addled brain. Crackers come from that same cloth.