I have never cooked a Thanksgiving meal, but I can flip a bird with the best of 'em.
Something happens to me around the holidays. Even though I am not cooking or hosting or responsible for much, my road rage seems to heighten. My son tells me that he gives me another year before somebody gets out of a car and gives my middle finger a minor adjustment.
It seems like since I reached 50, a new spring has been placed upon my middle finger, and the appearance of a slow driver pulling in front of me and then proceeding to drive 20 miles below the speed limit activates that spring. As does someone who slows to a snail's pace when lighting a cigarette as an 18-wheeler barrels down on me, or the person who stays in the fast lane despite driving below the speed limit. Yes, I have flipped off my own husband on occasion due to my last stipulation. And don't let me forget the turtles on the interstate who ride next to another vehicle so that they can block two lanes instead of just one.
My trigger fingers are starting to twitch just thinking about them.
Then there's the person I got behind yesterday who was texting, smoking a cigarette and eating a burger. The triple threat. And, he was my age. There's nothing more dangerous than a 50-something trying to multi-task behind the wheel. The dexterity wasn't there for him, but my finger found its spring and I flipped him off with flourish.
I should have learned the dangers of flipping people the bird when I was a kid. My father was a well-respected minister in our community, so I usually tried to contain myself and did a good job of it until I got behind the wheel. One evening, a man in front of me refused to speed up and slammed on his brakes at a light rather than zooming through it like any good 16-year-old would do. So, I laid on the horn and flipped him off. I mean, an out-the-window-so-he-could-see-it-all-without-the-obstacle-of-tinted-windows kind of flipping off.
Instead of driving off when the light turned green, he stepped out of his car, and my heart sank to the ground. Not out of fear of being pummeled, but because I recognized him. He was a deacon in our church.
So flipping people off remained fairly dormant in my life until I hit 50. Now I'm in full swing again. I swear, sometimes I flip people off for no reason at all. It's like my finger springs are getting too loose. Once my finger is up, I look around at other cars around me as if searching for a righteous cause.
Not long ago, I flipped a double bird. Yes, two fingers at once for the man in the red truck who cut me off in traffic. I made sure he spotted me then zoomed around him with tremendous speed. I made it about a mile down the road when I realized I was going to catch a red light.
I sat there and wondered why the light was taking so long. Then I looked in the rearview mirror and saw the man in the red truck. He was getting closer and closer. I hadn't been to church in a while so I wasn't concerned that he was a deacon, but what if he went all road-ragey on my middle-aged ass?
He pulled up beside me and I stared straight ahead. I could feel his eyes boring holes in the right side of my face. So I did the only thing that seemed logical to my menopausal mind. I turned up the radio and started acting as if I were conducting music... with my middle fingers. Perhaps I could build a case around air-conducting.
I held a long note in the air by holding both middle fingers with great flourish to show how innocent the double flip-off had been. Now the woman in front of me was angry, and the guy beside me quit looking at me out of pity or maybe disgust.
I have variations on my recovery strategy. I've been known to flip someone off and then run my middle finger through my hair as if it were a comb for the Fonz. Or I pretend that I'm keeping the beat to a song by drumming with my middle fingers on the steering wheel.
I had been doing much better since the red truck incident until the holidays hit. Take everyday traffic and add the pressure of buying presents, putting up holiday decorations and not cooking, and I find the springs on my fingers are reactivated.
I even found myself flipping off a car on television the other night.
So, if you are an advocate of cleaning up the road rage in our world, you might want to start with me. If nothing else, based upon the pretenses I have to create to explain the behavior, you'd think I might die from embarrassment.
Until I figure out how to stop my midlife, menopausal mini-rages and/or learn how to cook a turkey, I will have to stick with my Thanksgiving skill of flipping the bird, because quite frankly, it's all I've got.