Oh. Damn. My Bad.

by spastictactician

In light of eatatree’s recent salacious admissions of immoral behaviour and general lack of basic human goodness, I feel the compulsion to share one of my all time “I wish I hadn’t done that” highlights.

This is the reason I’m going to hell. There are many, but this is the one that sealed the deal.

I had recently graduated from university and had yet to land the kind of job that would allow me to come remotely close to meeting my financial obligations. I was engaged in a dance with my creditors that involved choosing which ones would receive enough money to shut them up each time I got paid, and which ones would only get my excuses, apologies and lies.

On this particular day, I was heavy into the dance. I had cashed my paycheck and spent several hours driving from location to location around the city, dribbling out just enough cash at each location to ensure a few weeks reprieve from collections departments. I hadn’t made it to all of the places on my list, but the cash was gone, so I didn’t really have much I could do except mentally prepare myself for the evil that is phone calls from people to whom one owes money.

In addition to having just spent several hours graphically affirming my status as a deadbeat with few prospects, I was also suffering in more immediate, physical ways. The day was absolutely sweltering. The kind of mid-summer face melter that makes you mentally check that you are, indeed, living in northern Alberta. My car was a 1981 Ford Fairmont with no air conditioning and navy blue vinyl seats. That car was unbearable. The back seat had a bunch of garbage and crap piled in it that smelled like someone was baking an ass pie back there. The steering wheel had the kind of faux leather wrap on it that soaked up heat and tried to melt your hands each time you gripped it. Everything about that car sucked at that moment.

One final thing about that day: My girlfriend was with me. Now, I had just dispiritedly emptied my wallet, and she had watched me do it. With each stop we made, she watched her prospects of any kind of date more complex than watching TV and eating whatever is in the cupboard disappear. What this meant was that, after each stop, her mood got worse and she was the type of person who made sure that the people around her knew exactly how bad her mood was by transmitting her status in loud, shrill complaints. She had, by this point, been making a fairly continuous high pitched attempt at (further) emasculating me for several minutes and was disinclined to accept my offer of getting the fuck out of the car and walking.

To say that I was in a shit mood would be an unbelievable understatement.

At this point of the day, I was stopped at the world’s longest red light. It was one of those signals where a pissy little side street is joining a major thoroughfare, and you can wait 5-6 minutes for the light to change. When stuck at a light like this, one inevitably questions the motives of whichever city planner brain farted this part of the plan together. It was absolutely interminable, made worse by the aforementioned heat and girlfriend noise. I gripped the lava clad steering wheel ever more tightly and blinked sweat from my eyes.

Anyway, the light finally changed, and I took my foot off the brake only to realise that some fucker was just straight up driving through the red light. He wasn’t even moving fast. Maybe about 30km/h. I stepped back on the brake and began to spit some horrible insult at him, but, before I could get properly started, I realised that there was another car running the light right behind him. And behind that guy, was a third. I couldn’t even begin to believe what was happening. By the time these fuckers had moseyed through the intersection, my light had gone yellow again, almost costing me the opportunity I had suffered through several eternities for, but I was fucked if I was gonna let it go.

I hammered through the intersection and shot into the right lane so I could get up beside the last dude. My window was already down due to the lack of A/C, so it was no problem to extend my angry middle finger and start screaming. Honestly, I fucking lost it. I gave the last guy a full 15 seconds of vitriolic abuse, then moved up to the next car. By the time I moved on to the first guy who’d run the light, I was in another world. Consumed by rage, I was actually leaning out the window, driving with my knee so I could flip him both birds.

A sane person would have let it be, but I was far from sane at that particular moment. I let the rage grow and just moved up the line of traffic, absolutely shrieking profanities. I was using swear words that I had never heard before, let alone uttered. I must have snarled and screamed my way past 7 or 8 cars before I finally got to the hearse.

The sudden, sobering realisation that you have just completely lost your mind and cursed out an entire funeral procession is most certainly a defining moment in a life.

I’m pretty sure this makes me a bad man.

(I have told this story many times, and have even posted it on the internet once before, with largely the same words. To the folks who have read it before, as a post in the forums at letsjapan.org , I apologise for the repeat, but thank you for all the nice things you said about my horribly revealing bit of reflection.)

Spastic Tactician
July 7, 2012