In regards to the much critiqued post about my handling of the slow driver, I offer a few comments: 1. Opening with the question “Was this mean?” wasn’t smart. I know what I did was mean. I knew it was mean while I was doing it. I should have asked if my actions were justifiably mean or mean-but-amusing.
That said, I doubt that any of the responses would have changed.
2. A clear majority of people responding on this blog and via Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, email and in real life do not approve of my actions in the slightest. I was referred to as an idiot, a plonker (a British term for idiot), a bully, a mean jerk and cruel.
3. The three people who approved of my actions found them to be more amusing than intelligent.
4. In retrospect, there were many reasons for the man in question to be driving so slowly, and I admittedly failed to realize even one of them at the time. While I think it more than likely that he was driving slowly because that was his preferred speed, there were many other possibilities that I should have accounted for prior to taking action.
5. For the kind souls who wrote to me in an attempt to bolster my spirits in light of the harsh criticism I received, fear not. If I can dish it, I must also be able to take it, and I am. Readers need not respond kindly to my posts. I simply ask that they be honest and transparent. They were.
6. A few readers wondered if I engage in this kind of behavior in order to have something to blog about on a daily basis. I assure you that this is not the case. In fact, I only wrote about this particular incident after mentioning it to a friend at dinner and suddenly wondering what other people might think. For every encounter of this kind that I write about on this blog, there are many more that never get written about.
Or as my wife said, “You were doing this kind of thing long before blogs even existed.”
7. In the end, my intention is rarely to be mean. Instead, I seek to challenge social conventions.
When someone tests the door to a public restroom, finds it locked, and still knocks, I could remain conventional and say, “I’m in here!” or “I’ll be out in a second!”
Or I could shout “Bring out your dead!” or “A plague on both your houses!” as I’ve been known to do, because I think that finding a restroom door locked and then knocking on it anyway is stupid.
Sometimes I run the risk of being mean or stupid when challenging a social convention, and sometimes I initiate genuine change.
Yesterday I was mean. And slightly vindictive.
If I had the chance, I would probably apologize to the man who was driving slowly.
But only after questioning him about his reasons for driving so slowly. Sometimes I just can’t let things go.