Photo courtesy of: Ladue News

By Debbie Baldwin

So, something funny happened to me the other day…or something disturbing— I can’t decide. Cranky, her best friend and two other girls were on their way to their first-ever ‘modeling’ photo shoot for Ladue News. They were booked to have their hair done at the new Breeze salon at 6 a.m., and then on to photos at 8:30. Those who know me well, know that an early start for me is around 10, so a 5 a.m. wake-up is a bit of a shock to the system. Nevertheless, I gather the girls, and at 8 a.m., I am ready to deliver them from point A to point B.

I turn onto Clayton Road by the Esquire and head for Forest Park. Cranky has great music on, I’m enjoying an ice-cold diet soda and the girls are discussing the Justin Bieber concert—all in all, it’s a very pleasant jaunt. Suddenly, a car juts in front of me, unusually close and unusually fast; and if I’m not mistaken, I think I spy, ahem, an extended digit.

I shake my head. Surely, I imagined that. I didn’t make any sudden lane changes or lay on my horn. What’s more, the car in front of me is like the quintessential tree-hugger granola mobile. The bumper stickers on the back say things like ‘Coexist’ and ‘Recycle.’ I dismiss my paranoia as we pull up side-by-side to a light. I look at the driver, and he looks like Santa Claus: long, white beard, small round glasses. Surely, ‘Santa’ didn’t flip me off. Then as I pull up, with 14-year-old Cranky in the passenger seat, he turns and utters an expletive directed at me, You f***ing wh**e!

Is it me, or is that a tad extreme for an inadvertent Tuesday morning traffic mishap? What’s more, I don’t even know what I’ve done. Cut him off? Sideswipe him? Slash his tires? I keep my car back after he rolls forward so we are no longer side-by-side and say the only thing I can think to say—quoting his own bumper sticker—Coexist!

With that, he peels away—thankfully, in a different direction—and we carry on with our day. I laughed it off. Well, I tried to laugh it off. I don’t know if there’s a lesson to be learned here or not. I’m sad I could make someone that angry, and I’m disturbed someone could be capable of such anger. It can’t be healthy. I’ll have to remember that the next time somebody cuts me off.