Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Old Man

I need some opinions. This is kind of like "what would you do in my situation" type of survey.


I was driving from work to my parent's house, where I have been staying, to meet my brother the LawnWhisperer. The two of us were going away for business and he was driving us to the airport. I was running about 10 minutes late. I was driving down the street behind my parents' house and I purposely coasted through a stop sign as I was making a right turn. It was a three-way stop at a three-way intersection and there is no obstructed view of any of the corners. It is the perfect location for a "Hollywood stop."

I turned onto my parents' street and parked the car. LW was waiting for me in the driveway. As I was loading LW's car with my luggage a gold colored mini-van stopped next to us. The driver, an older man, yelled out his window to me. This is the conversation.

OM: Do you know you went right through that stop sign back there?
Bill: Yes. I kind of Hollywood stopped it. I'm sorry.
OM: (with real attitude) You know we stop for stop signs around here.
Bill: Huh?
OM: (Pointing to my license plate) I don't know how you do it in Florida but in Pennsylvania, we stop at stop signs.
Bill: Yeah Okay.
OM: (wagging his finger at me) You know I could report you.
Bill: Okay go ahead.
OM: (still wagging his finger) I should call the police.
Bill: (Totally ignoring the guy) Okay whatever. Thanks for your opinion.

The guy pulled away.

I looked at LW and I sort of shrugged my shoulders. His mouth was slightly open in disbelief. "I did blow right through the stop sign." I said.

"I can't believe this." LW said. "Why didn't you tell the guy to fuck off?"


"Well, I did go through the stop sign and besides he is one of Mom's neighbors."


"I am so disappointed in you." LW said while shaking his head. "If the guy was nice about you going through the sign that would be one thing, you know safety and all, but as soon as he said "I don't know how you do it in Florida' he crossed the asshole threshold and he was fair game for you to tell him to fuck himself."


"As soon as he started yelling I thought he was an asshole. The intersection was clear." I agreed with LW.

"Then why didn't you tell him to mind his own business. What does he think he is the local superhero."


LW and I talked about it the entire trip to the airport. LW thought I should have told the guy to stick it. He was very upset that I did not.

What would you have done?

43 comments:

Andrea said...

I would have done what you did. "Thanks for your opinion" is a really nice way to tell someone to f*&^ off :)

Katie said...

Well.. I don't think you should have told him off; I think you handled it pretty well. But you could have been sarcastic about the whole "we don't do that here" comment.

"Your kidding me - you mean there is not one person in Pennsylvania who has ever ran through a stop sign? Oh, wait. I'm from Pennsylvania, I've lived here most of my life. Since I just ran through that stop sign, and have done it before, I think that blows your theory. Don't be calling those Guinness people just yet."

But you did a good job - respecting your elders and all that. ;)

michael said...

Was the guy in the gold Minivan, Dad?

Because if it was, I think you could have gotten away with telling him to go F himself.

On the other side, If Max was playing on Mom and Pops yard, I could see you being that person telling someone that they went through the stop sign.

You have to kind of admire the guy for doing what you would have done in his place.

Patience said...

Perhaps you should have said "I'm so sorry sir! I was bad. Will you please come over here and spank me? I know I deserve that!"

That'd shut him up!!

teri said...

You did good. Not worth getting stressed out and making enemies. You could have mentioned that the intersection was clear, maybe that would have helped as well.

Stacie said...

I'd have done the same thing you did, but given my recent run in's with strange men lately...I might've gotten a bit defensive after the "I don't know how you do it" bit and gotten mouthy after that. But I'd have tried to keep in mind he's moms neighbor and just sneak over after dark with a lit bag of dog crap for his front porch..
Stacie

Carli Girl* said...

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself...would it really be worth the breath, time and energy. No, I would have let him have his say, everyone is entitled to be an A-hole once a day.

Zephra said...

Just what you did. It is better to keep your mouth shut.

Michelle said...

You handled it in a great way. You were nice and the old guy was concerned for neighborhood safety. And you did admit your fault in running to stop sign. Tell LW to f off!

eclectic said...

Needless hostility is, well,... unnecessary. You handled yourself and the situation perfectly.

cathy said...

Are you sure you REALLY want to know? I am from Boston!

Mainline Mom said...

I think you handled it exactly right. There's very rarely any good reason to tell someone...even an asshole...to go fuck himself. That gets no one anywhere.

Oh, The Joys said...

If he was able to get you all riled up he would have achieved his mission. Since he failed, he drove away truly feeling like a hopped up jerk without any help from you.

(Are you secretly Tich Nat Hahn?)

Kami said...

Yeah, you did the thing you had to, unfortunately. Now had it been a young punk, THEN you could have told him to fuck off.

Susie said...

I've never heard of a Hollywood stop. What is that?

I think you did good. I might've been even nicer, sincerely (not sarcastically) thanked him for helping me improve my driving, acclimate to Pennsylvania driving standards, etc., until he didn't know whether I was messing with him or not. More flies with honey.

I've been stopped for speeding a number of times. I've never gotten a speeding ticket. I plead guilty immediately and commend the officer for doing his (it has always happened to be a male) job, because, if this were my neighborhood, I surely would want someone like me to slow down . . .

Watch out for LawnWhisperer. He's trying to get your ass kicked by an old guy so he can laugh at you.

Jamie said...

I would have gotten back in the car and driving backwards and forwards through the stop sign until he had a conniption. Maybe lay on the horn while doing it. You know, be subtle.

Nancy said...

You handled it perfectly ... showed the OM respect, admitted you knew you were in the wrong, and avoided unnecessary heated confrontation.

Touche' to you ... we aren't going to win every conflict ... save the fights for the ones that really matter to you.

LW needs to get laid *wink*

lawnwhisperer said...

First of all, Bill tells tall tales. The man stalked him from around the corner like he was the Chief of the Town Watch. The dude pulled along side of us with a TJ Hooker attitude. He came across like Sipowicz talking to a drug dealer. Bill coasted through a stop sign that the nine of us have coasted through for 30 some years. Shit, momo9 Hollywood stops em all. Skipper taught us to drive on those streets. The only time he cared about stop signs was when we were taking our Bike Test.

The man could have handled it a bit nicer, but he ran and jumped in his car like he was Bo or Luke Duke, and chased after Bill. He has been wanting to say that Florida line for a couple of weeks, and he had the opportunity at that precise time.

If I wasn't there, Bill would have said something smart, but he choked. He got stage fright. You can say fuck off to someone without saying fuck off you know. That's all I was looking for.

walternatives said...

You handled it The Right Way, holding your own but still letting the old man vent. No need to have taken it any further. I wonder, has the Lawn Whisperer read these comments?

Susie said...

Hmmm, it's Bill who tells tall tales. But then who is it that pulls in . . . let's see . . . TJ Hooker, Andy Sipowicz (huge points for that one, btw), and both Bo AND Luke Duke?

(Don't mind me, I'm home with a sick kid today, just trying to cause trouble somewhere ;)

PA said...

My Dad always told me not to mess with people like that, because, at least in the south, people like to have guns in their cars. You don't anger the people with guns.

Adam said...

Here's how the conversation would have gone between he and I.

OM: Do you know you went right through that stop sign back there?
Adam: Yes I do. I apologize.
OM: (with real attitude) You know we stop for stop signs around here.
Adam: That's so cute.
OM: (Pointing to my license plate) I don't know how you do it in Florida but in Pennsylvania, we stop at stop signs.
Adam: I was trying to be nice. I acknowledged your complaint, and I even apologized. Now get the hell out of here before I come over there and take a crap in your window.
OM: (wagging his finger at me) You know I could report you.
Adam: (Reaching for zipper while approaching the vehicle) Can you roll your window down a little bit more? Last time I did this I got a pinch on my nutsack and I still have a scar...

Effie said...

did he report you? Did you get a ticket yet?

;)

kimmyk said...

if he's your moms neighbor i would have done the same thing as you...

but remember him come halloween.
eggs? check.
soap? check.
tootpaste under the car handles? check.

you get my drift. you'll have the last laugh my friend. if not, when he's not looking shank him in the kidneys when he bends over to pick up the newspaper. victory shall be yours.

Anonymous said...

You handled it well. The guy was a jerk, but you were also in the wrong. No point in making the situation worse.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I think you handled it the right way, no offense to your brother...I am always tempted to respond with some 4 letter words but I am too scared of "road rage" even if someone is not in a car (I am from southern California...and we call that "stop" a "California Roll"...) Anyway, read my most recent post about the bus driver...when people are rude, I try and out-nice them and hope it makes them go home and cry about what rude and mean people they are and then maybe fix it in themselves.

On another note (sorry, this is long), we moved in 1979 from California to Colorado and we had to change our plates quickly because our car would get tomatoes and eggs thrown at it all the time because they didn't like Californians...

Lowa said...

I think you handled it well. Don't doubt yourself or question. Older brothers tend to have that effect on us. Don't fall for it. Too bad the old guy had attitude, but that doesn't mean you have to join him. He and LW both sound like maybe they are not very happy people and get their kicks out of being rude.

Leave it be. You have more important things to spend your time and engery on, like your job, wife and two sweet boys, finding a house to move into, etc etc.

You done good.

Wendy said...

I would have done what you did, and then later, I would have come up with 101 witty comebacks to his "I don't know how you do it in Florida, but here in Pennsylvania ...." By the time I was eight years old, I'd moved more times than most people rotate their tires. I hate people who have "that" kind of attitude - like they own the freakin' state! Uh, excuse me, but there was no "Welcome to Old Man Ville: Home of the Crotchedy Old Geezer" sign when I pulled across the state line.

Oh, and about stop signs, it's pull up, tap the brakes, count to three and go.

Then, you can say, "No, Sir. I did come to a complete stop. The sun must have been reflecting off my tail lights and you didn't see me brake."

Dollymama said...

Erring on the side of kindness, grace, and diplomacy has always served me well. :) You done good.

Lance said...

I likely would have tried to take the "yeah, whatever" route, but I'm not very good at it. I find it really heard not to laugh at people like that. Similarly, I smile and wave at people who ride my tail on the highway flashing their high beams on and off. "Thanks. I know you're there and now I'm going to take a lot longer to pass this truck. Cheers!"

Circus Kelli said...

I think you did the right thing. You were polite and didn't let the older man get you all ticked off with his attitude.

Then you blogged about it.

Perfect.

Oh, and "I'll take that under advisement" is a good one, too. ;)

LW said...

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa? You don't even know me, yet you have psycho-analyzed my behavior. That is very interesting. Up here in Pennsylvania, we tell people like you to shut the fuck up.

ToadyJoe said...

I'd have held my beer aloft, belched a big-un, and said "Whateverdude" before turning my back. :)

Oh, okay, that's totally untrue. I'd have done just what you did and WISHED I'd done what I said above. I commend your ability to keep cool for your parent's sakes, since they have to live there longer than you do.

3jaysmom said...

I would have done as you did, however, if I EVER see HIM roll through the stop, you can bet I'd bring it to HIS attention...

Nilbo said...

Not much I'd have done differently. We all do rolling stops from time to time, and we know they're wrong. And maybe even assholes get to be right now and again.

It rankles that he'll be telling that story for a while, making himself a hero. And that you probably won't roll through that particular stop sign in the near future, so he kinda got his way.

But he's still an asshole. That, in itself, is a lifelong punishment.

stepblog said...

I thought YOU were the local superhero.

bbsgirl said...

In my opinion, since this guy was an "older man" AND your mom's neighbor, I would have handled it just the way you did. Now, it he would have been, say, your own age group, I would have told him what LW said! (but then again, that's how road rage gets started) You are a good Father figure, not need to take chances of showing your kids that you can be an ass...you did the right thing. Besides, I know you would have stopped if there were cars in the intersection. Really though, it's not a big deal.

kittenpie said...

A neighbour of your parents? Prolly not worth the grief it'll end up causing for the pleasure of telling him off.
But I wouldn't take it to heart, either.

kalki said...

I would have been even nicer than you were about it. I am a total wuss like that.

Anonymous said...

No speaka English. I speak Floridian

Anonymous said...

Old man take a look at your life, I'm a lot like you.

Anonymous said...

I always think that when someone does that, it is not about the stop sign or Florida. Something else has been bothering him and you were the catalyst. Share your wit and your sarcasm. Save the f bombs for LW. Nobody and I mean NOBODY can out @#$%^ the LW.

Dottie said...

I would have done the same thing. If he was truly being concerned then you acknowledged his concern and if he was looking to stir it up then you didn't accomodate him.

Haven't read in a long time, haven't blogged in a long time. I look forward to catching up! :)