Dear Jerk

Dear jerk-off guy,

I was the person stopped at the red light behind you Saturday morning, headed for a weekend at the beach with my family, waiting for green in the burgundy SUV. You sat in the driver’s seat of a dirty, open, military style Jeep, with another beefy young guy in the passenger seat. While we waited, you (surprisingly, horrifyingly) heaved a grocery bag filled with fast food containers toward the bed of the large red dump truck that waited ahead of you. Physics guaranteed that you’d miss the truck bed, and the bag of trash fell to the road and scattered in the breeze. I honked. Not a quick, friendly “hey the light is green, stop looking at your phone” honk. Not an “I’m laying on my horn because you almost killed me” honk. But an in-between “I can’t believe you just threw trash on the street, get out of your car and pick that up” honk. Your reaction to my honk was shocking; you raised your hand into the air and flashed the rarely seen outside of middle school “jerk-off” simulation. The jerk-off move was followed by a “gangsta” style pointing move that said “come up here and say that to me”. My family felt the wave of your arrogant, angry aggression crash into our safe hybrid haven. As the light turned green and we made the left to head south, I hung back from you and your continued gesticulations. Who knew if you had a gun.

“If I were a cop I’d have a hard time not beating that guy up” I mused.  “But I think that’s the kind of guy who becomes one…”

After a long pause, from the back seat our daughter added “part of me wants to chase after that guy and follow him to wherever he is going”

“There is nothing you can say to a person like that to convince him he’s wrong” said her mother.

“And someone like that would have no qualms about hitting me” I piped in. “Don’t ever chase after someone like that” I admonished, looking back to make sure she heard.

Our conversation continued on from there, for two hours until we were at our Rehoboth door. So, thank you, jerk-off guy. You were the catalyst for a thoughtful conversation about misogyny, feminism, stupid arrogance, road rage, police brutality… also the recommendation from my loved ones not to call this poem “the jerk-off guy”.

I hope we never meet again.

Susan

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