The Four-Way Stop

Stop sign

The four-way stop is an emblem of civilization. With no one directing traffic and no lights to guide, drivers at the four corners take their turns. A properly functioning four-way stops operates as seamlessly as a roundabout filled with skilled, experienced drivers. It’s orderly and efficient.

I find it irksome no end when another driver at a four-way stop waves me to go ahead. I don’t consider it a courtesy; it’s breaking the order of a system that works perfectly well when implemented right. Breaking the order is bad. I realized that today when I wanted to peel my car into reverse, turn around and chase the blond bitch (BB) who decided to play chicken with me in the intersection.

Here’s the story. It’s riveting. I’m at a four way stop. It’s my turn to move through the intersection. A car coming to the intersection from the right starts to move through the intersection at the same time. I figure she’s just anxious to make her left turn but no, she’s intent on going first. I step on the brake to assess the situation. She looks my car up and down and practically licks her lips in anticipation, narrows her eyes and pulls her car up further. Now we’re both in the intersection. I start to move. She starts to move. I start. She starts. We are now playing chicken.

That BB is going to hit my car, I thought. Good fucking grief. For a minute, I think, fine, I’m pulling through. You want to drive into the side of my car, go for it BB. We can have the police come and make a fucking party out of it. But the thought of my beloved car, my 2005 beautiful blue Thunderbird, getting damaged stops me. I let her go. Then she pulls through the intersection, making her left turn in front of me, giving me the hard stare and going maybe 3 miles an hour as she completes the arc. Gloating.

“Did you give her the finger?” my husband asked when I told him this story.

“No, I just yelled at her.” But because it’s getting to be winter here and my windows were rolled up, she didn’t hear anything. She just stared at me, the intimidated one, yammering silently in my car.

I drove on. It made me crazy that I hadn’t collected myself enough to mouth FUCK YOU or BITE ME BB. I just let her get the best of me, I thought.

I drove some more. I wondered if maybe I knew her and would run into her at a meeting. If I did, would I accidentally elbow her at the sign-in sheet? Bump her out of line in the restroom?

“It’s a good thing you didn’t let her ram your car. She would’ve wanted to fight you then,” my husband opined.

It sounds crazy but it could happen. Once when my younger daughter was in middle school and in the midst of a weeks-long feud with another girl, she brought home the message that the girl’s mother wanted to fight me. And not as in, have an argument with me. She wanted to meet up somewhere and have a girl fight. I declined.

That could have happened today. I was mad enough. Fuming. We could have been there in the intersection, two old broads banging their purses on each other’s heads. I was that mad, honest to God.

I had an umbrella in my car, too.

Leave a Reply