I went to Skyline Chili for dinner the other night. I brought my dog with me because he loves car rides. We went through the drive-thru. I ordered 3 coney dogs and fries. As I was driving away, I notice a strange homeless man sauntering around. His clothes were gross and ill-fitting. I thought he was about to walk up to my car. While I was distracted by the homeless man, I accidently pulled out directly in front of someone. It was a very irresponsible and stupid move by me. Here is an artist’s rendering of the incident.
The guy I pulled out in front of laid on his horn. He stopped short of hitting me, but I could see he was furious. I didn’t even give him a courtesy wave. I just got the hell out of there. He tailgated me for a minute. I was worried he was going to follow me home and confront me, but eventually he turned and we went our separate ways.
I was feeling like an idiot as one does when they make a stupid driving mistake. As I drove home, I imagined what I would have done if he had actually did confront me. How would I have handled the situation?
Here is how that scenario played out in my head:
As we both pull into my driveway, I make the decision that I am not going to apologize. I decide to play dumb.
We both step out of our cars. I don’t even acknowledge him. I just go to grab my food out of the backseat like nothing is happening.
In my peripheral, I can see that he is a man about my age, just a little bit heavier and a little less attractive. He starts yelling at me. His name is James.
James: “I’m James! What the fuck was that shit?”
Me (taking about 5 seconds to respond as I slowly gather my food): “Oh, hey James. What was what?”
James: “What do you mean, you pulled out right in front of me back there!”
Me (pretending I’ve already kind of forgotten about what happened): “Oh do you mean by Skyline? Yeah sorry about that pal”
People hate being called pal. He gets angrier and yells even louder.
James: “Did you even look? If I wasn’t watching closely we would have crashed. Are you fucking stupid?!”
Me: “Aw damn, I’m sorry. Guess I wasn’t thinking..”
I’m still not even acknowledging him with eye contact. I walk around to the passenger side door to let my dog out.
Me (talking to my dog): “C’mon buddy let’s go”
James gets angrier as I continue to not give him my full attention
James: “Yeah no shit idiot, what if I would have hit you? Do you even care?”
I don’t respond right away. My dog hops out of the car. In real life I have a small Chihuahua, but in this imaginary situation I have an extremely well behaved Pit Bull. He is off leash and is just kind of meandering around minding his own business.
James is now thinking to himself: Damn that’s a well-behaved dog. Most dogs can’t be trusted off leash like that. Especially Pit Bulls. He must be a really good dog owner.
Me (finally addressing his last question): Sorry can you say that again? I didn’t hear you.
James (furious): WE WOULD HAVE FUCKING CRASHED! IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR FAULT! YOU STUPID MORON. DO YOU WANT TO PAY FOR THOSE DAMAGES?
Me (still acting very cool and nonchalant): It’s a work car they would have dealt with it..
James doesn’t even know what to say. He is so angry, but I am so calm and un-phased that he doesn’t know how to deal with me. He’s just standing there in a huff. As he fumbles for words, my neighbor walks outside. She is a sweet old lady who has her 4 year-old granddaughter Lucy visiting for the week. They both walk up to my dog and start petting it.
Sweet Old Lady: Hi Buster! (my dog’s name is Buster) Yes yes yes you are such a handsome boy aren’t you?
Lucy: Doggie! Doggie! Doggie!
My Pit Bull Buster wags his little nub of a tail and starts gently licking Lucy’s face
Lucy: Hahahaha silly doggie!
Me: Aww Buster are you making a new friend?
James waits quietly for a chance to continue accosting me. But I’m being so cool and nice to my neighbors that he isn’t sure if he should proceed.
The Sweet Old Lady strikes up a conversation with me
Sweet Old Lady: How are things?
Me: Pretty good! I just picked up some Skyline Chili, and I have a few friends coming over. Is this your granddaughter who I’ve heard so much about?
Sweet Old Lady: Yes this is Lucy. Lucy say hi to John!
Lucy: Hello John!
Me: Hello Lucy! She is a cutie, you’re lucky to have her. Children are so precious.
James has been completely boxed out of the conversation at this point, but he wants to get at least one more word in. He rudely speaks before the Sweet Old Lady can respond to my comment about how precious children are.
James: Seriously though man.. you have to watch the road. That was really reckless. Next time you might not be so lucky.
Me: Yeah you’re right, good looking out. I really appreciate it.
At that moment, my friends walk up. They just finished having some drinks at the bar next door. My friends are three girls: A perfect 10, an 8 (my girlfriend), and a cool chick.
Perfect 10: What’s up John? Hi Buster!
My dog smiles and walks over to the Perfect 10
My Girlfriend (8): Hi honeyyyy (gives me a hug and a quick kiss). You got the bag? We’re hungry.
Me: Sure do babe!
I hold up large bag of Skyline Chili. In this scenario I had actually bought enough food for everybody. I begin distributing coney dogs to the group.
James is still standing there. He know he should just leave, but he can’t help but stare at my hot friends. He thinks to himself: Wow these girls are hot. This is like the most awesome guy ever. And here I am about to go home alone to my sad 1 bedroom apartment. I don’t even have a dog. I’m such a loser compared to him. I never should have tried to confront him. I feel like such a dumbass.
All of the sudden, my friend the cool chick speaks up. Her name is Chanel.
Chanel: James what are you doing here??
James: Oh hi Chanel what’s up?
Chanel: I know James from work. He is a Human Resources Admin. James are you going to the company party tomorrow night?
James: Umm I’m not sure yet actually, I might have something going on.
James didn’t have anything going on. He never has anything going on.
Chanel: Oh ok. How do you know John?
In a borderline heroic move, I decide to totally let him off the hook. I don’t want him to be embarrassed in front of my hot friends, a Sweet Old Lady, and granddaughter Lucy.
Me: I actually just met James at Skyline. He’s a Sixers fan so I invited him over to watch the playoffs.
Chanel: That’s awesome! James I didn’t know you were a Sixers fan. We love the Sixers! Sucks that Embiid is hurt, but hopefully they make it through this series and we can get him back for the Conference Finals.
James: Yeah of course.. I umm… have family in Philadelphia.
Me: Small world! Well the game is about to start. James I hope you like IPA’s or White Claws because that’s all we got.
James: Yeah that works.
We say goodbye to the Sweet Old Lady and her granddaughter Lucy. Then the 4 of us watch the Sixers game in my modern home. I no longer feel dumb for my driving mistake. James is the one who feels dumb now.