“Come On Jerk” By John Watts

There I was at a long traffic light in non-rush hour conditions on a Saturday.  The silver, 4 door dodge impala ahead of me was just sitting there as the green light continued to beckon us forward.  I was not feeling stressed or in any way pressed at the time, but still, the lack of movement ahead of me provoked a peeved, pent up reaction.

“Come on jerk!” I yelled into the thin air in front of me.  I said it with feeling too.  Because the highway was WIDE OPEN just 30 yards ahead, but all I could do was stare at the bumper of this same dodge in front of me.  My criticism was reserved for the antagonist situated in this vehicle.  Every bit of my hostility and frustration that had built up all week was now reserved for this one “jerk of all jerks.”

After all, they had annoying political stickers that sounded too preachy and they had a personalized license plate for a big powerhouse football university that I never liked.

Finally the cars ahead of me started to move.  Until the next bend where I was once again in a standstill on a sunny Saturday late morning.  “Where was the construction sign?”  “Where was the evidence of an accident?”  I needed confirmation if I was going to be put out like this.

But then I thought about the justice of my comment.  Was it really fair?  After all this first guy had not caused this delay.  He was merely stuck helplessly like me by someone else in front of him.

So I looked beyond–past the bumper of the preachy 4 door impala until I noticed the battleship gray 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

Aha!  This just might be the clueless guy that was the cause of all my problems.  And I was more than ready to assess the situation and react.

“Come on Jerk!” I called out.

But there was an extenuating circumstance.  The driver was an over 70 geezer who was obviously someone’s Grandad; some poor soul who had to focus with 110% intensity just to react in time to normal driving conditions due to all the physical limitations and lack of vision that no doubt plagued him.

So I again regretted my latest hasty “come on Jerk” pronouncement and immediately stopped feeling ill towards somebodies Grandad.

At the next light I decided to switch lanes and at least try my luck at getting past the pileup of vehicular obstructions that had plagued me.

Now I was getting somewhere!  Soon I had sailed several car lengths further in the right lane.

And I was finally free to really analyze and judge the “slow as molasses” lane of drivers next to me that had resulted in my pile-up and contributed to the disappointing start to my weekend.

I decided to pick off one culprit at a time.  The next driver I spotted after somebodies Grandad featured an annoying “4ever in Texas” personalized plate 4 by 4 truck which I was totally sick of from past exposures.  I mean did the world need another arrogant Texan wanting to rub everyone’s nose in their western heritage that we could never share in?  Why couldn’t this guy just be proud and happy to be HERE?

My tongue was all set to utter it again.  “Come on jerk.”  But this time I only thought it and exercised discretion.

I did this because just ahead of the Texan driver was an open truck bed with stacked mattresses and shovels in it.  Surely this must have been the guilty party!  A trash hauling guy and his crew.

They looked totally different than me and drove differently.  While I drove swiftly and decisively, this driver just crawled tentatively, looking like a lost taxi driver who was totally out of synch with all the weekend leisure pursuers like myself.

This trash truck drove to the beat of his own drummer and had a different agenda than just doing fun errands like I did.

“Come on jerk!” I was ready to blurt out my side driver’s window.  But I thought better of it as I was afraid of a shovel becoming dislodged and hitting me.  It wasn’t safe to be anywhere near this guy.

So I traveled on, till I was neck and neck with the next motorist.  Oh I hated this ladies’ demeanor!

She was plainly on her cell phone and she had an annoying assortment of utopian bumper stickers with all kinds of TOLERANCE messages.  Messages that sounded good but made no stand on ANYTHING!  Much like a Unitarian sermon that convicts no one and ends as pleasantly as it starts.

“Come on jerk!” I yelled for my own benefit, as it was especially pathetic to yell publically at a woman driver.  But it hardly mattered.  The lady was glued to her phone and noticed nothing else around her.

So I rolled down my window and yelled twice as loud, “I mean you jerk!”

Again no reaction.  This “Love your Mother Earth” lady was simply on another plane and simply would not allow me to ruin her day.  And besides that, she could hardly be blamed as being the root of the problem.

So I ceased and desisted my “come on jerk” to the next driver in line.

This guy was the complete opposite.  He was the dark humored guy you see who purposely sports politically shocking bumper stickers.  Each message was designed to provoke.  “My Zombie ate you’re honor student.”  “No one cares about your stick figure family.”  This guy even had the old reactionary “baby in trunk” sticker for good measure; each one satirizing some popular family trend for family cars.

But I found his reverse humor just as irritating as the politically correct lady behind him.  I had seen his kind before and found his irreverence to be too predictable.

But he was just as innocent as I was.  Because ahead of him was one more vehicle.  This was my “aha!” moment.

Truly this guy was the guilty party.  For ahead of him was half a football field’s length of empty highway space.

This time I would leave behind my sensitivity and fairness and give this offender a piece of my mind.  I was going to blast this guy off the highway.  What nerve this guy had anyway–acting like a slow cow in what was supposed to be the fast lane!

So I rolled down my window and went in for my long awaited put down.  .  His window was open too.  And as I did so, hitting my horn hard like a judgement from Gabriel himself and yelling “Come on Jerk!”–what happened next would send my mind a reeling.  Because as the guy in the vehicle turned towards me I was met with a horrifying realization.  The man in the culprit car was in fact my immediate supervisor at work that I had just met.  I had just told off the guy who was my vital like between failure and long term success at my company.

My bosses’ expression told me everything I needed to know.  I was convicted without the need of a judge or jury or court as a hot head and an undesirable employee completely unsuitable for growing with the company’s future.  Even if things got back to normal between him and me at work, this episode might forever loom in his mind about me.

Badly shaken, I pulled over to the parking lot at a nearby shopping center.  I parked and turned off the ignition.  All I could do was stare straight ahead and moan quietly “Come on jerk!  Come on jerk!” at the rear view mirror image of myself.

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About John Watts

I like to write transcendental community based essays and stories along with photo journalism pieces.
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