Leaving the house Saturday morning, I found a white van blocking my driveway. Rather than stop the vehicle ten feet sooner - or 15 feet later - the driver had thoughtfully stopped right in front of my driveway, blocking about 2/3. He was sitting in the vehicle as I came out of the garage and got into my car. The jackass proceeded to then get out of the van and walk across the street to deliver a package.
I thought, for a moment, about saying something. First off, there's the complete and utter lack of anything resembling common sense that had him stop blocking my driveway. Either side was totally clear - he could have easily parked without blocking me in. Next, he SAW me get out of the garage and into my car. Any rational human would have thought to themselves, gee, maybe I ought to move. Nope. This jerkwad just went about his business.
I paused, though. What I really wanted to do was get out of my car and call the guy out in the middle of the street. "Hey! Could you move your f**king van so I can get out of my driveway, you inconsiderate nitwit?" What would have come out would have been more along the lines of "Excuse me, you're blocking my driveway. Can you move?"
And it dawned on me. If I asked him to move, and he had been a jerk (which empirical evidence suggests would have been the case), I would most likely have gotten angry. I'm bringing my kids to the hospital to see their mom after surgery, and this jerkweed is blocking my driveway and giving me lip about it? I was uncertain about my ability to keep my cool, and figured that the best course of action was to get out of Dodge.
Basically, what it boils down to is that I cannot honestly say that if the guy had been a jerk, I wouldn't have escalated. Ask politely, get a rude response, and I might very well have reacted poorly. It's probably for the best I walked away. Knowing your limitations is applicable in so many different applications...
Driving away, though, something dawned on me. These people get away with this crap precisely because no one calls them on it. It's a vicious circle. Much like the jackasses that drive past the long line waiting to turn only to cut in at the last second, it's the people that LET them cut in that are equally at fault. If everyone forced the jerk to wait, they'd stop trying to cut in.
Ditto calling out assholes. If enough people said, "Hey, jackass, move your damn van, you parked across my driveway," maybe it might convince a few to stop. Oh, had it been a company vehicle you better believe I'd have taken a picture and broadcast it widely, but it was a rented van. Maybe the anonymity gave the driver courage? Maybe a simple "What the hell is wrong with you?" or simply WTF at a volume the whole neighborhood could hear would have been enough.
That's the thing, though. There aren't any easy answers. Confront the jerk and you run the risk of getting into a shouting match/pissing contest, no question about it. There are enough stories of road rage and other confrontations that end poorly that the calculus strongly urges against calling someone out. But that emboldens them, doesn't it? All that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing, something along those lines.
Knowing your limitations is key. I knew how I was feeling at the moment I came out of the house and saw some jerk blocking my path. A confrontation at that point would have escalated dramatically and significantly, and it's simply not worth it just to teach some jackass a lesson. I'm a firm believer in karma, and I just hope that someday, he gets it back in spades.
Until then, I hope he gets bit by a rabid pit bull with mad cow disease...
That is all.