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Was road rage sparked by bumper stickers?

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Buffy Queen

Buffy Queen

Waynesville and Haywood County are really beautiful places to live. For starters, our scenery is world-class, and we have some of the cleanest water in the world, which all originates here in county.

Our air has gotten so clear in the past 10 years that it’s remarkable. But besides physical attributes, the people who live here, natives as well as lucky move-ins, are generally on the really courteous side.

For instance, you hardly ever hear the loud horn honking that you do in bigger cities. Sure, sometimes someone taps their horn if the car in front of them seems slow to move after the light, but generally even then they give them a few seconds to “get it in gear” before the horn tap is used. Courtesy on our roads is the rule, not the exception. Having lived in LA for ten years, I really appreciate that.

So, there I was, Friday afternoon, waiting patiently in the left turn lane at the light to head up Frazier Street toward Publix, when I was startled by and actually jumped from the loud, prolonged horn honking of a large, shiny white truck (Ford F-150?) to my right as it zoomed past.

I know a lot of people here, and so I naturally “threw up my hand” and gaily waved through my front windshield at the driver going by. No, I didn’t recognize the truck, but, people buy new vehicles, right? I didn’t think I had done anything annoying, so the driver must be saying “howdy, nice to see you in town”. It’s fun to connect with a friend or acquaintance from the safety of cars in this challenging time, right?

Then I caught a glimpse of the hand gesture of the driver, and, no, he wasn’t giving me a friendly wave back. He was actually flipping me “the bird.”

Shocked at the rudeness and the unexpected slam, I made my turn, pulled into the parking lot at Publix and, still shaking slightly, tried to think of what I might have done to deserve such “jackass” treatment, as my father would have said.

I hadn’t cut anyone off, I hadn’t held up the line, I hadn’t….oh, wait a minute. The answer dawned on me. There was something that I had done.

Feeling free to express my First Amendment rights, I had left the bumper stickers on my little red Prius from before the election. Biden/Harris. Cooper for Governor. Proud to be a Democrat. Save Education, Elect Democrats.

So, this coward decided to express his feelings of disdain for my stickers by making a frightening noise and rude gesture to someone he didn’t know, who was minding her own business and hurting no one, who was maybe his mom or even his grandma’s age, from the security of his like-new, intimidatingly big truck.

Did he have the right to express himself to a total stranger? Sure. No law against it, as the saying goes. But he expressed something even more clearly. He expressed that he was a poor excuse for a human being, had been raised in a sorry way and really was just showing that an expensive truck can’t hide a weak character.

Back to my original premise. Our town and county are filled with generally sweet, kind, civic-minded people. We’ve been a welcoming, tourist hub in the southeast for over a hundred years.

So, if you’re new around these parts, when someone makes a jerk of himself on the road for all the world to see, like this dude did, don’t think that’s a normal citizen’s behavior. You have to just consider the source and hope they go back to the hole they crawled out of, somewhere else.

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