Stupid Road Wars

Lansdowne, PA 1971

I was riding my bicycle home after school when a station wagon blew its horn, passed me real close and cut me off. It had to stop for a traffic light, I caught up, passed the station wagon, ran through the red light and gave the driver the finger. Thirty seconds later I heard screeching wheels behind me. Oops. The station wagon was gaining fast. Fortunately, I found a one way street where I could turn left and make my escape.

Cooperstown, NY 1974

I was riding my Honda 360 motorcycle with Martha on the back. We were on our way to Cooperstown to visit Jim and Kathy. I was going about 60. An old car with two rednecks pulled out from the right and cut me off. I zipped by the car and gave them the finger. Ten seconds later I heard the engine roar behind us. The car quickly re-passed us and the passenger threw a can of beer at us. It barely missed my head. Martha was mad.

Boston, MA 1979

Martha and I had driven to the Boston area so I could interview for a job. We were driving our 1974 Ford Pinto that was missing a muffler and made a lot of noise. It was about 11PM and there was little traffic. We were stopped at a traffic light that seemed to be broken. There was a car beside us in the other lane. Finally, we decided the light was never going to change and proceeded through. There was no traffic.

The car that had been sitting beside us patched out, passed us, pulled in front, cut us off, then slowed down to about 20 mph. I pulled out to pass and the car sped up. We were going about 60. I slowed down, the other car pulled in front of us and slowed down to about 20. I tried to pass again, same thing. At one point we were doing 80. No way the Pinto had the power to pass the other car. At one point I slammed the brakes, did a U turn, accelerated as fast as I could. Didn’t work. The other car was behind us in an instant, passed us, pulled in front, and slowed down to 20. Martha was frantic.

I tried to pull onto a freeway. The other car pulled in front, then turned sideways on the entrance ramp and stopped to block us. The driver got out and walked back to our car. He was really big. He was raving like a lunatic, yelling something something incomprehensible. I rolled down the window to try to talk to him. He tried to pull me out of the car and Martha pulled on my other arm to keep me in the car. Finally the wacko punched me in the face, walked backed to his car and drove away.

I went to the job interview the next day with a black eye, but still managed to get the job offer. I turned it down.

Carnation, WA 1987

Martha and I were riding our tandem bicycle north through Carnation Saturday morning. A station wagon driven by a mom with two kids blew its horn, passed us real close and pulled in front. I gave them the finger. The car pulled over and the two kids jumped out – they were in their early teens – and started screaming and cursing me with words even I rarely used. Martha had not seen me give them the finger. She asked why they were so upset and I replied, “I dunno.”


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Born in Harrisburg, PA. Undergrad at Drexel University. Learned to ride a bike when six years old, riding ever since. Started cooking when I was in college, stopped when I got married, started again in 2006 when my wife was out of town for a few months. Jobs: worked at post office while in college to earn money to buy a stereo. After grad school, worked at a small software company in Redmond, WA for twelve years. Afterwards, went back to school to get a certificate, then started teaching high school. Still doing that off and on, part time as the need arises.

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