Lock ‘em up. Throw away the key.
Now what if your husband is one of them?
The calmest man I know engages in bullying behavior. You mean the man who files his nails before nancing beautifully on his classical guitar? Surely you can’t mean that gentle man who greets the squirrels on your morning walk. Good morning, Squirrel Squirrelly. Oh my, you are such a bad one today! Yep. That’s the guy.
Brushing the Problem Under the Accelerator
Was he initiating these incidents? Usually not. His is a form of road rage I will deem Reactionary Road Rage. Tailgating us? He applies brakes. Trying to squeeze in? He applies accelerator.
While his actions may seem commonplace, it raises my hackles. I grab the door and dashboard to brace myself for impact. I utter Eek and Geesh in attempt to extinguish this repeated behavior. I have repeatedly mentioned the car accident I was in 24 years ago that landed me in the hospital with a broken pelvis.
Vrum. Vrum. CJ encounters an aggressive driver, and presto chango we have a cross between Danica Patrick and John McEnroe.
Since I feel more comfortable behind the wheel, I suggested I might drive more. He concurred. He happily took the passenger seat and took over the music selection and enjoyed the freedom to take in the scenery. While this proved a viable solution for the short term, I failed to plan for the road trip. Surely I didn’t want to drive three hours to Austin or San Antonio while he happily bounced in his seat singing along to iTunes. What about retirement? If I didn’t keep him in the practice of driving, what would happen when I need the occasional chauffer for my podiatrist appointment? There had to be another way.
Castigation as a Stay Out of the Ditch Resort
Just in case you skimmed that big ‘c’ word, I am not advocating for the removal of his privates. Castigation: criticizing severely. I engaged in raising my voice to the point that his final display of road rage ended in me screaming at the top of my lungs in an attempt to belittle him so he would never engage in this behavior again.
It all started after a delightful five mile walk. We hopped in the car to head out for a cup of coffee. A driver pulled into the median waiting to turn left. We were facing this car and waiting to pull out into the median so we can turn left. In CJ’s estimation, they took too long. He murmured expletives. When they decide to pull into traffic, CJ laid on the gas, threatening to ram into the passenger side of their vehicle.
Creative Solutions Prevent Crashes
After the upbraiding and hysterics which included my face turning bright red and my eyes popping out of their sockets, I started to cry.
Then I hear it ever-so-faintly.
Don’t scare the baby rat.
I am not sure if I need to be committed or if he really just spoke.
What? I murmur through muffled sobs.
I was just saying, Don’t scare the baby rat. I have to tell myself not to scare the baby rat then I won’t do these things. I will think of you as a cute little pink rat right there on the seat.
Now why he calls me animal names is another issue entirely, but since that day I am no longer gripping the side door or hurling invectives. For the past month, I have enjoyed getting into the passenger side more. A simple solution to a potentially big problem.
These days, when a once-tempting situation arises, I hear him whisper, Don’t scare the baby rat. I breathe out and continue the conversation or peacefully gaze out the window with my hands relaxed on my lap.
Are you dealing with similar situations in your relationships? How do you handle them? We would love to hear from you, Jolly reader.