A sense of entitlement Copyright 2009 (Created: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 2:07 PM CDT) | Text Size | Print Version | E-mail This Story | | RSS Feed Joanie’s Journal By Joanie Buettgen It’s not a picnic trying to find a parking spot in a crowded location. A few weeks ago a friend of mine and I decided to go to a craft sale. It was a beautiful fall day. We had just received the long anticipated rain the night before and everyone was in a good mood. The last thing both of us wanted was a road rage incident. We knew it would be busy when we pulled off Highway 5 and spotted the long line of cars at the admission gate. As we drove slowly through each parking lot we were desperate to find a spot. After the fourth drive through we finally spotted a car slowing pulling out. We had one small problem as we tried to pull in. A young couple had stopped and parked their van in the middle of our way into this stall. The passenger had exited their van and was rearranging the back cargo area that included suitcases, a baby stroller, and other personal items. We waited. As we watched them this couple did nothing to communicate their intentions to us. The wife kept shuffling their belongings in the back of the van. The driver just sat in his seat and made no attempt to contact us. So, I pulled around to the right of this vehicle and pulled in front of their van. I motioned to the older couple (who were pulling out of their parking spot) to go around this van, so we could pull in. They did and left the lot. Then we pulled into our parking spot and put my vehicle in the park position. That’s when I noticed the angry driver in my rear view mirror. He had pulled his van up to my truck and boxed me in. He was screaming at me, “That’s my spot.” He was not happy. I overheard his exchange of obscenities and I said to my girlfriend, “What did he say? His spot … you’ve got to be kidding me?” As we sat in the truck scared to death this driver continued yelling, “I’ve been waiting here for four minutes … you took my spot, get out,” he said. “Road rage is a two-way street,” said Ray Palermo, of Response Insurance. “It takes two people to fight. So, if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.” With our common sense in tact we decided to stay calm and not get into a discussion with this aggressive person. We locked the truck, walked onto the sidewalk and approached the entrance door. We heard the van pull up to us and the driver continued to ream us out. “You took our spot, get out,” he said again. We did not acknowledge him and went inside. According to “Response Insurance” men are more likely than women to drive aggressively, (54 percent vs. 46 percent), as are drivers age 18-24 (67 percent) versus drivers 65 and older (30 percent). Drivers with children are more likely to respond aggressively (59 percent) versus those without children (45 percent), and cell phone users (59 percent) versus those who do not use a cell phone while driving (39 percent). These are some interesting statistics to ponder when you encounter this type of driving behavior. While browsing inside at the crafters tables, we noticed the wife of this maniac walked by and glared at us. Then, her husband arrived along with his intimidating glares towards us. I had “had it.” We didn’t want a scene in the lobby so I reported this altercation to security. A security employee stated, “There’s really nothing I can do but if he approaches you again, call this number and the cops will be dispatched.” I took the telephone number in my shaking hand, and tried to relax. After a few stops at the local vendors we didn’t spot them again. We slowly started to unwind and continued to enjoy our day. What has happened to our society and common courtesy? Have you too been a victim of road rage? For comments or questions contact Joanie at: firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.linkedin.com/in/joaniebuettgen.