Recently, I was walking my dog when I heard the squeal of tires from a car that I couldn’t see. I assumed it was at the stoplight at the bottom of hill that was out of my view.
Moments later, I saw a 70s-era muscle car, barreling in the opposite direction, climbing the hill. He seemed to be going at least 60 mph, and still accelerating, on a residential street where speed limit is 25.
Expecting to see a teen behind the wheel, I was surprised that it was a man who was likely well into his 30s, or older.
I held my arms out, with palms up, and glared at him while shouting “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” He returned the glare and shook his head and did not attempt to slow down.
About two minutes later, I approached an intersection and looked over my shoulder to see if there were any cars trying to turn right. I noticed a car traveling at the same speed I was walking. I stopped and motioned for the driver to go ahead and turn.
My pulse quickened when I realized it was the car that had been racing up the hill. The car stopped bedside where I stood. My immediate conclusion was that he’d returned with retaliation in mind.
I wondered what he was bringing to the confrontation. A baseball bat? Other people in the car? A pistol?
All I’d brought was a dog and bag full of poo. Still, I liked my chances.
I turned and looked at the driver, and the passenger seats. He was the only one in the car, so I fixed my gaze on him and braced for an escalation.
He began to speak. I wasn’t prepared for the volume level. He said in a quiet voice, “Hey, I’m sorry.”
He continued “I was driving like a total ass, you were right to be mad. I was testing some repairs that I’d made, but that’s no excuse for speeding like that on this street. I promise to be more careful.”
I was keyed-up for a fracas and was dealt a quiet apology. I was totally unprepared for that. And the “I promise to be more careful,” made me feel like a TV sitcom dad listening to an admission of guilt from one of the Brady Bunch kids.
For one of the few times in my life I was stunned nearly to the point of silence. The only words I could muster were, “Thanks for the apology. Have a good evening. And be careful.”