I'm driving to the record store on my lunch hour to pick up some blank tapes. It's a typically sunny, breezy day in Honolulu and I'm in a good mood. I've even got a flower a plumeria, I believe stuck behind my ear. I'm humming along to the music blaring from my car stereo as I wait patiently to turn left in the left turn lane.
Suddenly I hear honking.
I look up into my rear view mirror. The man behind me is laying on his horn and waving his hands in an agitated manner. Apparently he wants me to turn left.
I check. There is no green left arrow. The light has not yet turned yellow. There is a huge stream of oncoming traffic. I do not have the right of way.
Now, I've never been in a car accident, yet I'm a gracefully aggressive driver. In fact, I love driving. I've driven across the country several times, I've driven in big cities, I've driven through country roads. I grew up in Detroit, after all, where every road is an autobahn race, where cars are a way of life, and a good driver is sexy. Over the years I have learned to get where I am going fast, in all kinds of weather. But even so, there is no way in hell I'm going to turn left into oncoming traffic. That's rude and perilous.
The man behind me, in his faded blue box of a car, starts to pull up next to me on my left, as if to go around me and make his left turn while I sit in my car centered under the traffic light. Either he is stupid or he does not see the traffic coming straight at us. In any case, he's about to cause a serious accident, one in which I have no desired to be involved. I'm thinking about hospitals and auto repair bills.
I've also got to wonder about his urgency. What's this guy's rush? Is he late for a meeting? Is his wife about to deliver their first baby? What kind of emergency is so dire that he can't wait a few seconds for traffic to clear before turning left? I see people often behaving this way behind the wheel, as if life and death situations depend on cutting off one more car ahead or running one next red light. It's silly. The way I see it is: If you're late, you're late. In the long run, a few seconds simply won't matter, especially if you're about to cause an accident.
So I inch up a bit and pull in slightly to the left to prevent his obvious folly. I also want to make it clear that I intend to complete my left turn. He honks again. Instantly my blood starts to boil. I'm trying to remain calm. I'm chanting my aloha mantra. I'm remembering the plumeria behind my ear. I'm begging the traffic light to change.
It's no use. This guy is determined, for whatever impatient reason, to make his left turn ahead of me. His honking and flailing persist as he inches closer and closer into traffic.
I'm floating above myself as I open the car door and step out of my car, right there in the middle of the intersection. As I approach him he clearly has the oh-shit look in his eyes, even though I'm only 5 foot 3. His window is open.
Calmly I ask him, "Sir, what the fuck is your damage?"