How the LA Times drove me mad (or madder)

I am a huge advocate of newsapers. But when the LA Times Marketing department kept calling me, I kept hanging up.

They called at the worst times and it became a game of seeing how fast I could disconnect the call: Hi, LA Times-. Click. Hi, LA Tim-. Click. Hi, LA-. Click.

Then one weekday a newspaper appeared on my driveway – unusual, as I only subscribe to Sunday’s paper. I once received the paper daily until this little invention called the Internet came along.

It must be a mistake by the carrier, I thought. Then another paper fell from the sky, and so on. And into the trash they went, unread, as each one contained yesterday’s news that I’d already read on my computer the day before.

It must have been ordered by one of the operators I hung up on, I realized. Kudos to him or her for the practical joke, which I couldn’t help but appreciate. Respect. You got me. You got me good.

So, I called the LA Times to tell them to cancel the paper I never ordered. When the rep connected, she told me I was receiving the paper as gift from the LA Times for being a loyal subscriber. I told her I didn’t want it and to cancel it. please.

Like a computer that doesn’t understand a command, she couldn’t compute the input of me not wanting a free paper. Can’t compute, can’t compute. After five minutes of back and forth, she transferred me to another operator who had the authority to cancel my free paper.

The second operator did everything she could to convince me to the keep the free paper. As I don’t like to get mad at polite, hardworking people doing their job, I patiently told her to cancel it. She held her ground and stated all of the great reasons I should keep it, ignoring my logic, pleas and, eventually, my crying like a baby.

At this point, I’d spent 20 minutes of my life in newspaper hell. So, I decided to cancel my Sunday paid subscription, which glitched her computer programming and made her admit defeat in trying to save two orders. After 25 minutes of my life wasted, she canceled the free paper and Sunday’s paid subscription, which put me in the doghouse with my wife, as she uses the grocery coupons.

Now this happened over a week ago. And I expected it would take a few days for the cancellation order to happen. However, each day I walk outside and guess what’s there – a newspaper. And it stares at me and speaks directly into my feeble brain and says in a soothing voice: Hello, I’m here, and will be forever. You’ll never get rid of me. Enjoy me. Read me. Kiss me. Burn me. Or, roll me up nice and tight and use me to beat yourself in the head.

My advice: Never hang up on the LA Times. You’ll be sorry if you do. I am.

Used Cars and Oxy-“Morons”

I’ve been searching for the perfect used car now for over a month. I’ve been looking for a wagon – Volvo, BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. Just a simple used wagon. But there is one other problem. I’m frugal. So, I find wagons and they’re out of my price range or I can’t negotiate the price I want. Or they’re too old. Or, and this is the most common killer of me finding my dream car, they smell like smoke or the chemical used to cover up the smell of smoke. That’s right. I’ve come close to buying several wagons, most of them BMWs, and guess what’s stopped me in my tracks – smokers. There’s a twist of fate there when people ravaging their lungs with cigarettes prevent me from getting a car. Every decision in my life is connected to breathing or someone else’s breathing, or so it seems.

My wife found this wagon for me, which tells you a little bit about her rubbing salt in the wound and the neighborhood we live in.

I also have the pressure of making sure I buy a car that is safe and reliable because should something happen to me the car I choose will be driven by my wife with my daughter riding in the backseat. They’ll also be driving and riding in it now, too, so it needs to be road worthy, unlike the 13 year-old Ford I’m driving. I don’t like them in the Ford and thus the reason for a new used car. This situation creates a mental hell for me when I find something older and inexpensive, which is easy on the bank account, versus something newer and more expensive. Can I take the chance on the older car? Then, I’m conflicted with the following logic: “well, I’m going to die soon anyway, so I might as well get a nice car and spend the money.” Argh, double argh.

During the last month, I’ve dragged my daughter to dealerships all over Los Angeles. We’ve had some fun, like finding an IHOP near a dealer in Santa Monica and having pancakes for lunch, which she loved; and discovering a cool outdoor shopping area in Glendale with a store full of robots. My wife gave us a strange look when she asked us what we did that day and we replied: “we had a robot fight.”

I wish the past month had been all fun and games. I’ve had some of the typical negative car-buying experiences, but I’ve had good ones, too, with very nice, honest sales people. I have plenty of stories, but here’s the one that best typifies the conundrum of my used-car buying experience – so far.

I called a woman selling a 2002 Volvo wagon. When I asked her for the VIN so I could run a CARFAX report, she told me I’d see a few minor fender-benders listed. However, because she worked for an insurance company, she was able to get the damage fixed and, as a bonus, had manipulated the insurance report to include getting minor dings and nicks repaired. She was proud of her cleverness, though some might consider getting your employer to cover repairs not normally covered to be a gray area of honesty. This became more confusing when I told her I was looking for a car free of damage and she replied with “at least you know I’ve been honest with you.” Yes, I thought. Yes, you have. But why do I feel one or us needs a shower right now?

And the search goes on. And on. And on.

“Me Time” Is Overrated

My sense of isolation has increased over the years as this disease has worsened. During the past three months and the hemoptysis surprise parties I’ve had, I’ve felt more isolated. I have friends, but it’s hard to plan getting together. At times, when my lungs have gone south, it’s an effort to speak. Or, there are the times I just don’t feel well, which have increased. It’s harder to make an effort to hang out, and easier to stay home.

Life is like a postcard here in L.A.

Then add Los Angeles to the equation. It may seem strange to say that this expansive city of millions can feel isolating, but it can and does. Everything is spread out here, including my friends. And what may be a short drive in distance can take forever thanks to the worst traffic in the country. Visits across town take planning. You can’t just drop in on someone. Add to that the fact everyone is busier these days making ends meet and managing life. Even my healthy friends are tired.

The daily management of CF and time spent doing treatments each day interferes with going out or having friends over. I laugh when I fill out CF “quality of life” surveys. I have a great life, but the question asking if CF gets in the way of my doing stuff makes me want to ram my head against a wall. I need an answer choice of “F**k yes, it gets in my way. Are you kidding?” Clearly, someone with CF didn’t write that question because they’d already know the answer is yes.  Okay, maybe not for all CFers. I don’t want to make that assumption. I hope it doesn’t for everyone. Just place a permanent check mark in my survey, please.

So, it’s Christmastime and I’m lucky. But I would have loved to have had a holiday party this season, which I say we’re going to do each year, but we didn’t yet again. Life with CF got in the way. The blood came after Thanksgiving and it was “all hands on deck” mode to maintain life as we know it. Now I’m on blood watch, as the streaks have returned and it’s anyone’s guess when my lung pops again. Can you say “fourth embolization coming up?”

Life is good. Yet, CF can make it feel like normal life is going on while I sit at the computer with a nebulizer in my mouth. That’s the “me time” I’d happily exchange for “hanging out with friends” time.

Angry Birds, Californication, used cars and work

[Please excuse typos. I’m tired from doing all of the things in this post.]

I’ve been living in the CF netherworld of not feeling great, but not feeling bad enough to go in for IVs. It’s like riding a mediocre wave for as long as you can before you fall into the water. I’m on colistin, so it’s not surprising that I only feel “okay.” When I go back on Cayston in December, which was planned that way, I’ll feel better. This is the time of year where I do my best to stay out of the hospital but know I’m one bad cold away from an infection. I wash my hands a lot, give people knuckles instead of a handshake, and touch door handles with my shirt sleeve. Oh, and I don’t kiss supermodels because who knows where they’ve been. I ain’t taking no chances this time of year, crazy tall lady who wants to break up my marriage.

Speaking of my obviously better half, my wife got me hooked on Angry Birds, which may not make her my better half right now. I’ve been resisting games on the iPad because they’re productivity killers (have you seen many blog posts lately?) She downloaded the game on her iPhone. I followed. Holy f**k. This game is like crack cocaine – not that I’d know what crack cocaine is like, but my supermodel friends tell me about it all the time. Angry Turds, as we call it sometimes to great laughter from my daughter, mirrors crack in two ways. First, you think you’re only going to play one or two scenes or puzzles or whatever they call them. Nope. You play 10 puzzles. It’s hard to stop. Second, you lie to yourself that if you start you can stop in five or ten minutes. “I can handle it. I can play at 11:45 p.m. and be done at midnight. Liar, liar. Argh. I feel like a junkie.

When I haven’t been playing the birds game, I’ve been watching the third season of Californication. I watched the first two seasons in the hospital and got hooked. (Lots of talk tonight about addictions. Nothing like my OCD maxed out.) Great show. California is a cool place to live if you’re a stud book writer. Or you live by the beach. Otherwise, it’s full of foreclosures and polluted air.

The process of buying a used car bites. Plain and simple. It’s not fun. It takes a ton of time to find the right car because unlike the stupid commercial that showed 40 red Mustangs pulling up to a driveway with one staying – the perfect car – it’s quite the opposite of having fun. It’s “let’s drive to faraway places to look at cars that don’t match the description in the ad.” Occasionally, it’s cool to see new parts of L.A. I drove to an area north of Sunset Blvd the other day. Old-school L.A. with narrow streets and no parking and big houses wedged together that cost millions of dollars. Very nice. I can only imagine the weekends in that area. A couple of Brits I know would party hard and wake up in a pool the next morning.

Work, work, work. What can I say. It’s work. I’ve been getting rush projects one after another, including the large one I had to keep moving while I was in the hospital and technically not allowed to work. But they didn’t mind me working because the work had to get done. Even not working the last week in the hole didn’t kill my deadlines. So there work gods, I got one over on you. Or did I? Who got hosed here? Nothing like pushing off all of your scheduled projects for ones that are “hot” and “urgent.” Madness, I say. Madness.

That’s it. That’s the update. Time to go play Angry Birds before I go to sleep. I can handle it. I’ll only play one puzzle. Just one. Yeah, that’s right. When’s the intervention?

Highlights from my recent hospitalization: The 1st embolization

I’m reminiscing about some of my recent adventures in the hole. Here’s the day of the first embolization.

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After six days of coughing up blood in the hospital and playing the “how much blood did I really cough up?” guessing game with the doctors, I won a trip to the IR room for a bronchoscopy and embolization. When I had an embolization in Germany eight years ago, it took the doctors 12 hours to bronc me and 24 hours to embolize me. It was simple and in a foreign language with fewer doctors making the decision. During my recent hospital stay, a lot of doctors were involved in the decision which I can only guess made it easier to delay an actual decision. I knew by day two when the IVs weren’t working their magic that I needed an embolization. But I didn’t have the courage to force the process and expose myself to a procedure where paralysis is a possible complication. But I knew the lung wouldn’t heal without intervention.

By the time I reached the IR room on day six, I still felt in control of my emotions and alert to hospital dangers. My wife was there and I held back the tears when I left her at the waiting room and they wheeled my bed another 100 feet down the hallway, parking me outside the IR while they prepared the room. I signed releases and heard about the risk of paralysis again, thinking that there were benefits to having my first embolization spoken in German. There are no risks when you don’t understand the language and your only goal is to get on a plane and return home. It was annoying when they read the potential complications in English. What choice did I have at that point? Hearing the risks made me wonder how I was going to buy a gun if I ended up paralyzed. How would I pull the trigger? Is that something I could teach my yellow lab to do?

The bronc took five minutes – bleeding from the right lung – and the embolization took almost five hours. They woke me up when they needed me to hold my breath, which seemed like a lot to ask in my drunken state of mind – a sort of breathing sobriety test on my back. Near the end of the procedure, the right side of my jaw started hurting. When I had a chest tube inserted a few years ago, I had referred pain in my back. So I thought the jaw pain was just that, referred pain from the embolization procedure. I didn’t mention it at the time.

The pain got worse when they wheeled me back to my room. They gave me Vicodin, which helped for a little while. That was about when the hospital power went out, including the back up generator at some point. I was in the condition when one shouldn’t operate heavy machinery so it all seemed surreal. The lights went out and the room heated up without the AC. I had to stay flat on my back with my right leg straight to let the insertion point in my groin heal.

Los Angeles roasted that day in the heat when the power grid went out. It happens here in the summer, though I’m surprised it happened at the hospital. It was quite an emergency. One of my friends joked that had I been in the IR at the time, they would have been up my groin without a paddle. Nice. I’m happy I missed out on that experience.

I need to choose my words carefully at this point of the story. Fact: The pain in my jaw went to 10 out of 10. Fact: It took 90 minutes to get pain medicine and only happened at that point because I had to use my loud voice, which shook the windows of the hospital. (Remember, this was Friday afternoon/evening in a hospital when everyone is trying to split for the weekend; charts come first.) A doctor arrived within 15 minutes and there was concern the jaw pain was related to a possible heart attack (thankfully not, the tests showed). They gave me morphine for the pain. And there was concern some of the embolization material broke off and cut off the blood supply to the jaw nerve. I had to smile and make funny faces and demonstrate my facial nerves worked. (Yes, they made me take the bag off my head to do this.)

My wife came back to the hospital and spent the night on the fold-out bed made of rock. I love her for that. It helped having her there. And she was there in the morning when I coughed up blood again (what a terrible surprise that was) and when they moved me to the ICU, a hell of its own I’d never experienced before and hope never to experience again.

To be continued.

Letter to my daughter 09/14/10

Dear Daughter of the Future,

You’re a big 3rd grader now. Where did those eight years go? In another eight you’ll be operating a motor vehicle on the streets of Los Angeles, which scares me considering the idiots who drive here (wait till the first rain falls and watch the automotive equivalent of a “slip and slide” play out in front of you). I need to buy you a vehicle covered in spikes, a porcupine of a car, guaranteed to keep other vehicles at bay. Perhaps, I could get you a matching jumper to wear?

You’ve become quite the funny prankster and your personality reveals itself more each day. I’m concerned that I might be rubbing off on you and I hope you follow your mother’s path in life. She is kind and loving and smells good. What are the antonyms for those words? That’s me. You’re in good, lotioned hands with your mom. Be like her.

I have noticed something interesting about you – you are a missile. Yes, a missile on a course all its own. We have little control over you. Yep, you blasted off and we’re sitting on the deck eating popcorn watching you fly through the sky, missing planes and birds by inches. At best, we can hope to nudge you in a slightly different direction, help you avoid tall, unforgiving skyscrapers in your path. Like any parent, I wish I could download all of the mistakes I’ve made and you’d have a roadmap. But your “missileness” won’t allow that, will it?  The good news is you’re much smarter than I. But so is everyone else. Lukewarm news might be more accurate.

Here’s one thing I cannot tell you right now – the amount of 3rd grade homework sucks. I have to be a parent and go with the program for the sake of your future, but holy moly they give you a lot to do after school. I feel bad almost to the point that I want to do it for you. I could knock off those math sheets for you pretty quick. Sorry, not allowed. Against the rules. However, when you read this one day, yes, I agree, it’s a lot. Not only that, is math really necessary anymore? Shouldn’t they have classes like “Repairing the damage the generations ahead of us did to the planet” and “101 ways to cook with leftover plastic”?

Once again, my apologies for messing up your blog. Your mother will have some serious censoring to do (sorry, honey. What did you expect?).

Love to you and your mom.  xoxoxoxox

Deja Vu Office Cliches

Dressed in a blue suit he wore two times prior to this glorious day, once at a funeral and once at his cousin’s wedding, your new manager delivers the line like an actor with years of summer theater behind him. He sends it forth, passes it on, believing you’ve never heard it. Like it’s fresh, just born, a baby of an expression crying and taking its first breath of hospital air. The words will make all the difference in how you approach your work from now until they find you face down on your laptop.

And later, when you and your “colleagues” leave the meeting, feeling queasy, heads held high as the survivors, the phrase’s impact will be lasting, like the weekend in Vegas where you puked on the Blackjack table and you remember the staff at the Wynn telling your friends to remove you from the premises, which they have to do because you can’t do it yourself. Your only coherent thoughts being that it was neat how they hid hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades in the carpet design and that the last six Mojitos were a mistake and you’d like a do-over because you didn’t get more attractive to the cocktail waitress each time you tipped her a five dollar chip, then a ten, followed by a 25, which would have hurt had she not delivered the pain medicine each time.

You thought you were unique, as did your new boss when he used the phrase you hate the most, the one that is both confusing and depressing like some fart-house French film one of your brainiac friends with the faux Euro glasses seems to have a complete understanding of but in which you somehow got lost when the clown rode the merry-go-round for two hours then ran screaming into the rain, which is what you felt like doing, running from the movie theater into the street where you wished a large semi would barrel down at 40 mph and send you flying, separating you from your shoes. And that’s how you feel now, hearing your boss’s words. Does anyone realize you are sitting in the meeting without your shoes? Had anyone looked under the table at your socks or realized the smell comes from them because your feet were swollen from the side of beef you ate this weekend, including the charred part, which might be something you’ll regret later in life at a doctor’s office?

You wished you could go back to kindergarten when all words were newborns and clichés thrilled your parents, who were your paparazzi, who took pictures of you, or better yet video they’d show during the holidays to the family. And everyone loved the parts with the clichés and you spitting out the most mundane of them. But you were excused because you were five and everything sounded cute coming from your pie hole at that age.

But now work clichés are like acupuncture with icepicks, screaming is involved, and pain, though not in that order. And that’s the pain you feel now when he said it again and another identical icepick stuck you in the forehead. But this pain was worse because of the long string of thoughts it released from your cranium that everyday was the same and that nothing changes, and that you’ll be sitting in the same stained red office chair that doesn’t recline with its cheap sandpaper fabric and plastic frame and handles that never work when next year’s manager says the same thing and thinks it’s original, important. But it’s not. It’s the same. And you’ve heard and seen it before – in another language no less. It’s the French film and you’re doomed to watch it over and over until your eyes pop out of your head and roll down the sticky movie theater floor where one comes to rest against a gummy bear a three-year-old dropped and was told not to pick up lest he catch typhoid fever or something really bad one can only read about on the Internet by typing in “red spots and itching and slimy discharge.”

Yes, that’s what you thought about when the new manager stood there, bright smile filling the room with sunshine and happiness that he had said the correct things over the years and wrote the correct emails and made friends with the correct people and climbed the correct ladder, each rung hand over hand, never breaking a nail. All of that work and this is what he said first: “We have to do more with less.”

It’s a shame really. What about the beauty and three-dimensional quality of  “thinking outside the box” or the soft-drink sounding “synergistic”?  He could have coughed up one of those, the bad oyster not staying down. No, those have a positive quality to them, as if you might hear your kindergarten teacher use them “that’s not a box, that’s a rectangle, and you’re coloring outside the lines, Mr Amount To Nothing.” Now you’re upset because you were taught to color inside the lines but to think outside the box, which is as confusing as what the beer ads tell you, drink responsibly, as this is not something you’re good at, wishing now you could hoist the beer can over your head and pop the top letting its life flow down the plastic tubing of the beer bong into your waiting mouth, trying not to spill any, but failing, and drawing the jabs of your equally irresponsible buddies. The same ones that left you outside the Wynn. When you woke up the next day you spent the morning hung over cancelling all of your credit cards because someone took your wallet when you fell over sideways, landing in your vomit, exposing your back pocket to the sky, where some scumbag pretended to care and helped themselves to your plastic and family pictures. Worst of all, you had to drive back to LA at the speed limit because you had no license. Then the horror of the DMV that week, and the circles under your eyes in the picture as a memento of the trip living forever in your wallet or until someone lifted the new one you bought at Macy’s for $42 plus tax.

But as bad as it was explaining how you lost everything to your wife, it was still 100 times more fun than sitting in the large conference room without windows and blackjack tables and the sound of slot machines and the cocktail waitress who had never met anyone more charming than you than it was listening to the new manager say “do more with less.” And wondering if he really meant you when he said “less.”

California Dreaming

I was sitting at the dining room table yesterday morning blowing into my flutter when I heard screaming out on the street. The type where you stop what you’re doing to listen again. Is it kids? Something else? Definitely something else when I heard the second scream. I walked out the back door and looked over the fence and saw a woman who lives a few houses away, her face red, blotchy and wet from crying. Someone stole from her. Money and a computer, she claimed. She had her children taken away not long ago, too. Another neighbor was helping her. Sometimes people do scream in pain like in the movies. Yes, they do. And it wasn’t pleasant to watch. So I didn’t and went back in the house.

Life in the big city

I was pulling out of the gas station the other day when a man driving in stopped next to me so our windows were facing each other, his vehicle’s rear end sticking out in traffic, a magnet for honking horns, which irritated me. Then he asked me for two bucks for oil. Oil? Who buys oil anymore at a gas station with a market in it? Do they sell oil? Or did he mean gas? And asking me while we’re in our cars? I didn’t say anything to him. Not a word. I shook my head and drove off.

The local Barnes and Noble has become a hot spot for begging. And I usually give in. Hand the person a buck if they have a good story. Once it was a young girl who looked like she lived in Topanga Canyon. She wore feather earrings and a leather vest with fringe, like she might be a healer or hippie time traveler. She needed money to buy gas to get home. Do time machines run on fossil fuel? I didn’t ask. I gave her five bucks. She was someone’s daughter and mine was standing next to me. There have been others asking for money. More in the last year than in the prior 20 or so.

The lawns in my neighborhood look terrible. We have watering restrictions this summer. And LA DWP raised rates. But that’s not the whole story. Limited watering causes brown spots. Some lawns in my neighborhood haven’t been watered at all. Water isn’t cheap. Neither is electricity. The combo bill is a killer, as we live in a desert with most summer days over 100 degrees, though this summer has been cool. Many have chosen to save money and let their grass die. Other lawns are full of tall weeds where neighbors have decided not to water and mow. Or they’ve abandoned the house. One neighbor’s lawn is gone. It’s dirt. Just dirt. My lawn looks more green than brown and I water it on the days I’m allowed. But would I if I were unemployed or about to lose my house? I doubt I would.

Just a few years ago, large metal trash bins for remodeling littered the streets of my neighborhood. But those bins are long gone now. And what they left in their wake isn’t pretty.

Digging holes

Strange that the bottles on the web site don't match the ones I bought.

The morning started out rough with me feeling like the Human Torch. Tylenol acted as the bucket of water. I resisted filling the Vanco Rx, which was the right decision, so far. I’m feeling better tonight. I spoke to my stomach doctor on the phone today and he allowed me to move up to Ensure, telling me that four of these a day would provide me with the protein and nutrients I needed. (But not much eating satisfaction.) Unfortunately, they don’t come in an M&M’s flavor. So, I had to violate the liquid diet this afternoon and eat a handful, or two, or three of real M&M’s. Though I did chew them up until they became liquid-like.

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My gardener came by in the afternoon. I hired someone else to do some water-saving landscaping. He did a crappy job and I got hosed for over $1,100. I didn’t really complain to my gardener about it. I just mentioned it in a matter-of-fact kind of way. I may have to go to small claims court for the first time in my life and my gardener may get the job after all.

So, there I was mentioning the botched job the other guy did when my gardener told me that he had purchased over 100 acres of land way north of here where he and his family would one day create a farm with corn and cows. And he’d retire there. Watch his kids work the land. Milk the cows. Eat the corn.

That’s really cool, I thought. Really cool.

He needed water on the land to do all of this. Of course. Corn needs it to grow. Cows drink it to survive. Makes sense. So he hired a guy to drill a well, which was going to cost him around 50K. He gave him 10K to start, then inspected the progress which was going fine. He gave the driller another 24K. The work stopped and the lawyers came out and the driller declared bankruptcy. My gardener got a half-dug hole and lost his life savings.

I knew he worked hard for that money, in the dirt. It didn’t come easy.

He wanted me to know because, I think, he, like many of us, wanted to share a painful story. And because he wanted to give me some perspective on what losing real money is like. I didn’t lose my life savings. He did. I wasn’t complaining, but my story triggered his.

When he told me it was going to cost him 25K to fill the hole, well, what can you say at that point. Of course I said something stupid like, can’t you just fill it in with dirt? Wrong, you can’t. According to the government, a 50K hole has a proper way it has to be filled. That put an end to my talking about my $1,100 hit to the wallet.

The situation reminded me of the times over the years when I’ve listened to someone talk about their health issues – they had the flu and had to stay in bed for three days, or they had knee surgery and stayed overnight in the hospital. Of course I’m thinking if you only knew how many days I’ve racked up in the hospital, my friend, if you only knew. But I keep my mouth shut in those situations. And I wish I had today.

Random Thoughts About Fear and Anger

Many years ago, I was driving in West L.A. on the 10 freeway heading west to Santa Monica. A driver in an SUV cut me off and it was all I could do to hit the brakes and move over slightly to avoid an accident. I laid on my horn and the driver who had caused the near miss, now directly in front of me, flipped me the bird.

There was something so unfair about the action of the other driver that it pushed my level of anger over the edge in a heartbeat. Bang, from happy to angry in less than a second. I flipped the bird back and followed the driver over the course of the next few miles, matching every lane change, until the person in the SUV didn’t respond and took an exit. I decided not to pursue it because it would’ve escalated in a bad way.

What would I hope to prove if I had a confrontation with the other driver? Did I have to prove I was right? How do you prove that to a person who blames you for their actions? The same person who was the catalyst for the situation and your reaction. How did we see the situation so differently?

In hindsight, I should have given the SUV a pass – just hits the brakes without adding the horn. Now when I get cut off, I hold back and don’t respond. I guess that’s a sign of maturity. But it feels like fear and does nothing to make the anger go away. The anger stays forever.

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