>Is Chivalry Dead on Long Island?: The Epidemic of Your-Car-Touched-My-Car-RAGE
Around Christmas time, I was at Wal-Mart with my in-laws (I normally have a ban on shopping there due to ethical reasons, but I was just along for the ride.) The parking lot is reasonably full, and I parked my compact (VW Jetta) car in a regular space, a regular distance from the cars on either side. As you know, the backseat of a Volkswagen is famously uncomfortable (“Mallrats” reference there… awesome), and we were piled in like a clown car… my mother-in-law and father-in-law, wife, infant daughter in her car seat, and I. When the rear door was opened, it TAPPED the Range Rover next to me. Not smashed, crashed, or banged, but tapped the door. And because of the height difference between the massive Range Rover and my (more fuel efficient) Jetta, the door hit the kind of plastic-y side bumper/step thingy that goes below the doors. (Isn’t an SUV supposed to be a “SPORT” vehicle?!?!) Anyway, a tall beefy dude comes flying out of his car and gets in my wife’s face, hovering over her shorter frame with physical intimidation shouting “how dare you, you dented my car, what the f&%k is your problem?” etc. All sorts of expletives came out of his mouth, all the while using his physical size to silence her. If I remember correctly, she muttered something like “it barely touched,” but this guy was so out of his mind, he wasn’t listening. The rest of the family got out and we went in the store and left him steaming… but in all honesty, there was NO damage to his car. It was a major overreaction and poor manners. And if you are afraid of someone “tapping” your so-called Sports Utility Vehicle, perhaps you should park in the way back where there are many empty spots and walk.
Then yesterday, I was at a diner (further east) for brunch with my wife, daughter, and our friend AJW. Same scenario, normal parking spots, normal distance between us, only this time I was next to a Ford sedan and the door did NOT tap the other car. AJW and I were standing behind the car chatting while my wife had the rear passenger door open and was pulling Lilian out of her (rear facing) car seat, which at some angles isn’t an easy task. But the door was NOT touching the car next to us, but it was probably a hair away. Next thing I know, I hear some douchebag screaming “Are you kidding me???”… “Are you F%&king Kidding ME?” and I look up to see a cheesy-tattooed, wife-beater-donning, steroid-munching, skunk-toupee-wearing ASSHOLE stomping up to us, with an equally TRASHY bottle-blonde bimbo. Pure Long Island trash the both of them. The type that makes the stereotypes sparkle. I guess he had assumed we hit his car or something, but we hadn’t! And I didn’t hear if he said anything else, but his body language clearly implied that my wife, M, better move out of the way, and fast. She closed the door and left Lilian in the car. He moved out of the way and the blonde got behind the wheel (ha ha ha… we guessed he was on probation and that’s why he can’t drive, but we were just making assumptions based on his dickhead-tendancies.) He huffed a little more, got in, and they peeled out of the parking lot. M, AJW and I just looked at each other, did a nervous giggle, and all exclaimed “What the Fu…?” His rage and again, his body language were very intimidating and so we were all frozen. But in retrospect, I wish we had shouted back, “it’s not even touching, you ass, and slid a piece of paper between the doors.” Or even better I wanted to go back in time and say “if someone acted this way to YOUR mother while she was pulling you or her grandchild out of the carseat, would you be OK with that?” And for godsake… it was a freakin’ Ford!!!! Not a Bentley! Lighten up!
These are the two most memorable incidents, but in the 27 years I lived on the continental United States, this never happened to me, my girlfriends, or my mother (that I know of). But since moving to Long Island (3 years ago), I have seen about 5 incidents of Your-Car-Touched-My-Car-RAGE. WTH?!?! Seriously. What is up with this? Does this happen to you periodically? (Oh, let the record show that my car is in decent condition, it’s not a smashed up beater that they may think I just go smashing into everything, it’s a very mom-like blue Jetta with only normal wear and tear for a 6.5 year old car.) What’s up with all these macho idiots yelling at and intimidating women/mothers? Would they be OK with other Meatheads doing it to THEIR own mothers? In general, I see a lack of manners in middle Long Island (not letting cars pull out, not taking turns at stop lights, littering, not returning the shopping carts to the right spot in the supermarket parking lot, poor cell phone ettiquette, etc.) but this just takes the cake to me. It really has me dumbfounded.
Is chivalry dead on Long Island???
(Big thanks to my friend Christiaan K for the photoshopped image of the “Meathead” as per my request!!!)
And as always… while you’re here, please click on an ad or two… my advertisers like it and so do I!