March 30, 2004

Fingering Things Out

I'm not sure why, exactly, but lately I've noticed an upsurge in the number of people who feel compelled to give me the finger.

Maybe it's spring fever.

Granted, I can be a fairly opinionated person, and some may even argue that I can be kind of a jerk. And, as such, I can understand that not a day will go by that I don't seriously irritate at least one person. Actually, I can kind of consider the day a failure if I don't.

However, over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed people giving me the finger for no apparent good reason. Take, for example, last night. I went for my routine five-mile run. I came up to a crosswalk, and the walk sign was flashing that it was okay for me to walk. Of course, I was running, but I generally tend to think they're the same thing, at least as far as the "WALK" sign is concerned.

Suddenly, an automobile tootled at me from my left side. Apparently, a carload of teenage motorists had attempted to turn right at the same time I jogged into the intersection which, you may remember, said it was okay for me to do so.

I looked to my left, and I saw the carload of teenage motorists, in unison, giving me their fingers. Wishing to further observe this phenomenon, I stopped in the crosswalk and stood there looking at them. This, in turn, led to even more dramatic finger-waving compounded with a menacing "VRROOOOM!" as the driver pressed on the accelerator as some sort of warning to me, I guess.

The problem I have with the finger is that, as a communicative device, it's kind of a dead end. When someone gives you the finger, they're both starting and finishing a conversation. There's really no room for debate once someone flashes the finger.

Oh, sure, you can respond with a finger of your own. But, again, you're not really saying anything by doing so. I mean, yeah, you're expressing your indignation at having been given the finger, but you're not bringing anything more to the discussion table than what was already tendered by the original finger-giving party.

As I've stated before on this blog, I just can't get offended by the finger because it doesn't take enough effort to develop. It's like a switchblade for the hand: sure, it surprises you when it appears, but from a distance it's not really that bothersome.

So, with a carload of teenagers flipping their finger switchblades at me from behind a car windshield, I wasn't particularly taken aback.

Well, with the "WALK" sign now flashing a warning red, I stopped observing the carload of finger-waving youths and continued on my run. The driver, angry and young and stupid, decided to express his youthful rage by screeching his tires and squealing around the corner and burning rubber for the next 25 feet or so.

The driver was, apparently, completely oblivious to the presence of a police car waiting patiently at the red light behind them. What transpired was one of the shortest police pursuits in history. The driver, noticing the flashing lights and the siren behind him, despite a haze of tire smoke, promptly pulled over about 200 feet from the scene of the peel out.

I jogged over to a spot directly across from them on the other side of the street, where I stood patiently until the driver noticed me, at which point I gave him a very happy finger.

I'm not sure, but I think I heard the police officer laughing as I continued on my run.

Posted by Ryan at March 30, 2004 12:40 PM

You just described the fantasy of millions of joggers and pedestrians. I can't say how many times I've wished the police were around to witness something like that...

Posted by: Steve Gigl at March 30, 2004 01:06 PM

The thing is, Steve, one of the reasons I was content to stand there in the crosswalk was because I saw the cop car right there and I knew that, because of that, it wasn't going to escalate to anything violent or confrontational. I couldn't believe it when that moron peeled out. I was just thinking, "well, he's pretty much fucked." And he was.

Posted by: Ryan at March 30, 2004 01:10 PM

i was crossing the street when the sign said WALK and this crazy wome pulled out and went crazy on me

Posted by: Matt at May 23, 2005 10:37 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!