At the Junction of Ignorance and Anger

For someone who doesn’t leave the house very often, it comes as a bit of a shock to actually go somewhere and get yelled at.

Yesterday, while driving to Home Depot to buy a light fixture, I had to navigate my way through a horrible intersection. It is an unusual junction where there is a road that was in place before Edmonton made traffic plans to run in a north-south and east-west grid, and it cuts across diagonally.  Yeah, it’s nasty. This is what it looks like on a map:

Screen Shot
Screen Shot from Google Maps


I was heading northeast on the Fort Road NW that is white on the map, and turning left on the Fort Road NW that is yellow on the map. Aside from the silliness of the naming of the roads, it’s a ghastly mishmash of roads and lights.  I’ve actually only tried this route once before, so it’s still a bit bewildering to me, and after yesterday I may never try it again.

I followed a car that was in the right lane making what I thought was part of a two-lane left turn. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Maybe it was only a one-lane left turn. I don’t know.  Anyway, that’s what I did. Then I continued on my way across the intersection with Yellowhead Trail.

This was all complicated by the fact that there was some road repair going on with those lane-blocking arrow vehicles in a couple of locations. At one point, I paused behind one of those that was in the right lane, signalled to move to the left lane and moved in when there was a space. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. Perhaps I didn’t wait for a big enough space.

Then, I was about to stop at the lights at the next intersection when a white car screamed around me to my right, and screeched to a halt in front of me.  The driver was making a two-handed one-finger salute at me through the sunroof of his car. He was doing it very energetically, and I was pretty sure it was intended to insult me, but I had no idea why. As I looked at the car, though, I noticed it had a GB sticker on the back bumper, indicating that the owner was from Great Britain. That struck me as unusual. You don’t see those very often around here.

Angry by Jelle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Angry by Jelle via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I made a “what’s up?” gesture in return. Maybe that’s what I did wrong. I probably should not have responded at all.  The driver then got out of his car and strode towards me in theatrically high dudgeon. He seemed to be in his forties, maybe older, and was wearing a white “wife beater” sleeveless T-shirt. His face was slightly ashen and what was left of his hair was a little unruly. He came up to my driver’s side window and proceeded to yell and swear at me for what seemed like fifteen minutes but was probably only two.

Apparently, I am a f…ing stupid b…ch who should not be allowed to drive. I’m also too f…ing stupid to be allowed in a car at all.  In saying these things repeatedly, he began to salivate and spit on my car’s window. I’m really glad I kept it closed.

I was too bewildered and shocked to respond intelligently, but I noted that he didn’t seem to have an English accent, so the GB sticker may not have been his. It’s odd what you take notice of in unusual situations. In any case, I didn’t respond to his rant, and that may have been the only thing I did right. When he got no reaction from me, he returned to his car and drove away furiously when the lights changed.  He never did tell me what made him so angry.

It’s now a day later and I’m still upset by it, partly because I still don’t know what I did wrong. I have been racking my brain trying to figure it out.  I’ve looked at the street view on Google Maps multiple times, trying to see if there is a sign that I missed or a light that I failed to stop at, but I can’t find it. I did notice, though, that Google seems to be able to do their street mapping when there is very little traffic. They make it look easy.

Since the altercation, I have been thinking up things I might have said if I had thought of them at the time, and coming up with justifications for what I may have done wrong. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it is not so wrong as the badly designed intersection and not nearly so wrong as that man’s road rage.

When I do feel like driving again, maybe sometime in the next decade, I’m going go back to that intersection and …. No never mind.  I’m never going back there.



  1. That’s downright traumatic. Something like that happened to me and I couldn’t get the threatening/frightening image out of my head. You did nothing wrong…period. There are people who’re angry because you decided to turn left. You…you…left-turning so-and-so! Right? Insane. That’s the word, and the sane cannot think like the insane, so the sooner it’s out of your very sane mind the better.

  2. This weekend, when it is not busy, get your son or daughter in law to drive the route with you in passenger seat so you can determine that you actually did nothing wrong!

    Did you get the light and is it LED? Wonderful light from led. Jean

  3. Even if you were in the wrong no one deserves to be abused like that. Clearly there was no accident.

  4. You probably didn’t even do anything wrong. That nut-job was probably just that – a nut-job in a hurry with no regard for other human beings. I’ve had similar experiences. It is very disturbing, but it is his problem certainly not yours Anne.

            1. Ummm…I don’t want to stir the pot, but it isn’t the “natives” who are rude, crude and obnoxious. Mind you I am not a born Floridian either but I am a Southern girl, raised with manners and consideration for others. 😉

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