The Time an Asshole Driver Made Me Cry

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AKA: We All Have Bad Days

I’ve only prayed three times in my life. Once in 2003, when the Lakers were going for their “four-peat” and were about to lose to the Spurs. Another in 2006, when my grandfather was losing his battle with cancer. And once in 2012, when I had to drive home on the freeway with a tire that could have blown out at any moment. The latter is all that concerns you right now.

I woke up on a Friday morning, after having worked until 3am the night before. I expected to hop in my car and drive home to run some errands. Instead, I noticed a baby-key-lime-sized bump in my tire. After some investigation (Google comes through again!), I realized this was extremely serious and could cause my tire to explode. Spontaneously. Freakin’ sweet. I love cars.

Because I’m poor, I decided to drive all the way to a cheap local tire shop near my home-home 17-ish miles away from USC. Before I left, I did something I had only done in dire need in the past: I prayed. Now, while I do consider myself “spiritual,” I was not raised religious, have never set foot in a church unless it was for a funeral or wedding, and honestly, I’m deeply fascinated by people who have strong ties to religion. I am, however, very aware that when people pray, sometimes good things happen (and sometimes they don’t). I thought I’d give it a shot. Why the hell not?

As respectfully as I could, I prayed that I wouldn’t be killed on the 10 or 60 freeways, that I wouldn’t hit a pothole on the street, and that even if my tire did blow out, that I wouldn’t get hit by a Prius or bus. Then I did that hand-cross-over-chest thing twice and thanked god. I proceeded to hold back tears all the way back home, just hoping a higher power take pity on me.

I almost made it to my destination when I realized that I needed cash for later. I thought about this– I should just go straight to the tire place, but the ATM is on the way… though it would increase my likeliness of my tire popping. But going there afterwards would waste gas, and I can’t afford that. Death? Or save 50 cents? I opted for the money.

To my relief, I successfully made it through the drive-thru ATM and was on my way out of the plaza when I stopped at a stop sign. Because that’s what people are supposed to do. I turned left when I was all clear, but a truck that didn’t have a stop sign went as soon as I did. The driver didn’t stop or slow down. All he did was honk at me and shout, verbatim, “Fuck you, bitch!” The true mark of a gentleman in a wife-beater, showing off his pin-up girl tattoos. Usually, I’d have come up with a comeback of both biting sarcasm and sweetness, hoping to confuse my foe into not knowing if he’s being insulted or not. However, I was having a shitty day. So I started crying. A lot.

I was insulted. This guy didn’t know that I’m not a bitch. He didn’t know that I would never intentionally hurt someone. He didn’t know that I go out of my way to please people because I dread the thought of being disliked by anyone. But then I realized I was crying because of the situation. I was having a bad day. Yes, that guy was an asshole for saying what he did, but he didn’t go out of his way to find the girl who was on her way to buy a tire because she thought she was going to die. It was just terrible timing. (And bad planning by whomever decided not to put another stop sign in that parking lot)

While this remains one of the top 25 things I’d like to forget, I’m also glad it happened. It made me an active anti-douchebag. I’m not psychic (or am I?), so I don’t know who’s having a tough time. The only thing I can do is treat people with respect no matter what, and encourage others to do the same. You never know when you’ll come across someone who feels like a terrible person because she just prayed for the third time in her life out of desperation.

With all of that said, I have one piece of advice: don’t be an asshole. Oh, and I made it to the tire shop just fine.

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