There was an exchange I witnessed a few days ago and it’s been playing out in my head since then. To anyone else, it may have seemed like a typical case of road rage, but I saw something different.
The three of us, Squeaker in her stroller, walked to the grocery store in the evening to buy some essentials for the rest of the week. Squeaker got bored because there were no dogs or toys nearby and started to cry, loudly. Since becoming parents, we’ve perfected the art of communicating through looks and gestures. My husband just looked at me and I knew. I exited the store with the word’s crabbiest toddler while he finished paying.
We stood near the stairs leading up to the store which were right in front of a small entrance that cars took to the parking lot. She wanted to toddle around and flirt with a dog tethered on one of the poles in front of the store. Two Las Condes security guards were talking and one had his motorcycle half resting in the entryway for cars. His foot propped up the rest of the motorcycle and he was quite obviously not parked.
Suddenly a car pulled up to the motorcycle and began to honk. Imagine how you honk at the end of the day when you’ve been working for ten hours and you are hungry and tired and just want to get home and a distracted driver thoughtlessly cuts you off and THEN has the nerve to give YOU the finger. That’s how this woman was honking. From my point of view, it looked like she thought that her car (on the large side for Chilean vehicles) wouldn’t fit past the motorcycle. The guard motioned for her to proceed and she keep honking. Her husband was in the passenger seat shaking his head despairingly like he couldn’t believe he had left his home only to come face to face with such proles.
Meanwhile Squeaker had dried her crocodile tears and was now almost as interested and I was in the drama unfolding. Eventually, the woman decided to risk it and easily (E-A-S-I-L-Y) drove past the not parked motorcycle into the parking lot.
Not two minutes later, a woman, who reminded me of my paternal grandmother, sprang up the curb and ran–no lunged at the man–this woman, who did not look maternal or grandmotherly, very nearly had this man’s throat in her hands before her paunchy husband pulled her off of him. He had to pull this tiny woman off of a security guard or she would have cut him with her bad manicure. The whole time she was screaming, “HOW DARE YOU PARK THERE!?! HOW DARE YOU! NO ONE CAN GET BY YOU!”
The security guard said, “But you did. And I’m not parked.”
That incensed her. She lunged again, “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?!”
Her husband once again stuffed his generous girth in the middle of her chipped red nails and that man’s jugular saying, “He’s not worth it. He’s not worth it” like he was placating a house cat.
They finally went inside and stood by the window glaring outside for several minutes.
The whole time I’m standing there seething, SEETHING, with anger at the self-declared most-important-woman-in-the-parking -lot.
I’ve been known to lose my cool over stupid shit, but this has to be the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen someone expend that much energy on. When someone nearly runs you over which happens a lot on this busy road, please, go ahead and scream and yell (I do). When someone double parks and you can’t leave, jump up and down and cuss because that shit is annoying. But this was such a non-issue that it boggled the mind.
I realized the only thing that was missing from the conversation was, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM, YOU MEASLY PEON, YOU?” And that really pissed me off.
Would it have played out the same in a less classist society? That’s what really bothered me.