Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Called Him "Chico" And Lived to Tell About It

Diane reminds me on a regular basis that I have a not-so-healthy affinity with my car horn, and I, in turn, remind her that she should mind her own freakin' beeswax. I should probably listen to my wife more.

I had to work a longer shift Tuesday night to cover a coworker's vacation, so I was driving home a little later than normal...like the roads-are-totally-deserted later-than-normal. As I was driving home, I came upon a slow-moving vehicle that, though it remained in it's lane, seemed to be drifting excessively within the lines. I kept my distance. We came to a stop light and both of us maneuvered into the left turn lane. The road onto which we were turning started out with several hundred yards of two lanes before merging into a single lane. Since I didn't want to be stuck behind this potentially impaired individual, I decided that I would pass him if I had the opportunity. The light changed, he meandered into the right lane, and I made my move. That's when all the bad things began to happen.

As I turned into the left lane and attempted to pass, I was abruptly cut off by
my liquor-imbibed amigo as he cranked the wheel hard to the left and shot out right in front of me. I jammed on the brakes to avoid hitting him, and yes, you guessed it, I instinctively reached for the horn and gave it a nice long blast, you know, just to let him know I was there. It must of worked because he over-corrected and shot back across the right lane and off the road, plunging my car in a cloud of dust before returning to the road. This pretty much confirmed my suspicion that this individual was indeed drunk, so I backed way off and let him go on his merry way.

I followed him all the way to my subdivision (oh great) where I eventually pulled up beside him at a stoplight. Why I pulled up next to a dude I knew was drunk is a question I continue to ask myself, a question to which I have no good answer. Probably the best one is that "I'm stupid", but the ones I've been going with are closer to "I was tired" or "I wasn't thinking", which is just a variation of "I'm stupid". Anyway, I pull up next to him, and he immediately confronted me. And since it was a pleasant Arizona evening, I had my windows down so I had no problem deciphering his message:

"HEY! YOU F***IN' HONK YOUR HORN AT ME?"

I probably just should have kept my eyes straight ahead and done nothing, but "I'm stupid", remember? I turned and looked and found myself staring into the glassy eyes of a behemoth of a man. He was stone-faced drunk and looking for a fight. At this point I figured I could do two things: I could ignore him and piss him off, or I could respond and piss him off. Guess which one I chose.

"Yeah, when you practically run me off the road, I honk my horn."

Well, that was enough for him. He started fumbling around at his gearshift on the steering wheel, then at his seat belt. Then he found the door handle and opened the door. "Alright, you! Get out of the car!" And he started climbing out of his car.

Now I'm a supposedly responsible, law-abiding, happily married father of two. I have a mortgage and own a minivan. I'm not supposed to get involved in street fights with chiseled, inebriated chuckleheads in the wee hours of the morning. I knew I needed to get out of there, pronto. But just when I thought my stupidity had reached its limits, I got stupider. I left him with a departing inquiry:

"Had a little too much to drink tonight, there, chico?"

And then I fled against the red light.

Before you label me as a racist, please allow me to try to explain myself. My high school Spanish teacher used to call us "chicos" and "chicas" (that's "boys" and "girls" to those of you not proficient in the Spanish language), and it stuck with me, especially under circumstances in which someone has pissed me off. On those occasions, these particular individuals, regardless of race, have become "chicos". It's not the best habit in our politically correct society, especially here in Southern AZ, but it's so fully ingrained in my vocabulary that it's going to be tough to break. Incidentally, "chico" also means "little" or "small", which is funny to me because this dude was huge. He was also white. I should have called him "Bubba".

So now I'm racing for home and trying to lose this guy. I had a good lead on him, but was reluctant to go too fast through a heavily populated area. I also didn't want this jerk driving his SUV into someone's bedroom, so I set a brisk, but responsible pace, the only level-headed decision of the evening. I monitored my rear-view mirror and finally spotted him FLYING up the road behind me. He blew right through a stop sign and came bearing down on me, eventually pulling in right behind me and tailgating me. That's it, I thought, I can't go home, so I slowed down and just kept driving.

He followed me for a couple of minutes with no sign of backing off, so I grabbed my cell phone, dialed 911, and headed for the closest police station. How the hell do I get myself into these situations? Well he either got tired or wised up to my plan because a few minutes later he turned around and went home. I sighed a sigh of relief, and when I thought it was safe to do so, I did the same.

So what has this experience taught me? 1. Don't honk. 2. Keep my mouth shut. and 3. Take an alternative route home, especially if I fail to follow #1 and #2. Oh yeah, and never, NEVER, call them "chico".


2 comments:

The Beast Mom said...

"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"
"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"
"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"
"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"
"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"
"chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"

This phrase made my day. I don't know why. It just did. I can't stop saying it.

Next time you do something like this, wouldja' film it? I mean the written description is great and all, but I personally want to SEE Mr. "chiseled, inebriated chucklehead".

-bm

batterd ham said...

You're funny.

Is it that you want to SEE Mr. "chiseled, inebriated chucklehead" or that you want to SEE me PUMMELED by Mr. "chiseled, inebriated chucklehead"? Because that's what would happen if I took the time to get out my camera.