Practice what you preach

Last Sunday I was going to IKEA to buy a pair of Hand Rings. For those who don’t know IKEA is a huge home products retailer, Hand Rings are those round gymnastic rings that are hung with ropes or straps from somewhere and gymnasts hang on them and do their gymnastic things, and in California these huge retail stores are usually located in wide open areas with some streets leading to their ultimate parking lots. When I was getting near there I reached a 4-way stop sign with the left turn lane being backed up with tens of cars, but the straight lane only with a couple of cars, so without looking I put my car in reverse to go back a couple of feet and then go forward to the lane on my right side. Well, I didn’t look, there was a big truck behind me, but I did not hit it, I had stopped on time, I shifted forward, and proceeded to move forward.

They honked at me. I don’t know why, but just to tell me fuck you, because in this country honking is mainly used to insult someone, whereas in Iran honking is use for exchange of information, hey honk I’m on your right, honk I’m turning left, honk you’re too close, honk where you going,… But here honking is to insult careless drivers, in this case he was telling me to fuck myself, basically. To tell me I was a bad driver, there was no other reason for it. As I said I didn’t hit the truck, I had stopped in time, I was moving forward when they honked at me. So, when I was a distance away on the right lane and moving forward I honked back at them, which meant fuck you too. But they didn’t like that, they wanted to insult me but they didn’t want to be insulted back, because I was bad they were good, so they changed their lane and started to follow me. At first I didn’t make much of this. We were both going to the same place and it was natural for both of us to take the same route, especially when the other left lane was backed up.

But, soon it became obvious to me that they were following me. I didn’t need any of this, I was there for a simple purchase, in and out, yes I made a mistake, but it was over with and I wanted to get on with my life, but they did not ease up. They honked some more, they gestured with their hands, they were pointing to me to pull over, all along while I was going back and forth in the busy parking lot trying to lose them. They would not give up, so I decided I didn’t need any of this and I would just give up and go back home, so I began to leave the damn place, but they kept on being more irritated and more aggressive, and my car began to smoke, at the time I didn’t know whether it was from the engine or tires. Their truck had at least two passengers in it, maybe four; I couldn’t be sure since things were happening too fast. At times, in the rear mirror, I saw them making drastic moves to keep up with me. At a 4-way stop intersection I turned left to a dead end In-N-Out burger joint, I was trapped in the parking lot. They locked my way out. I backed away as far as I could. They moved forward just a little to turn their front wheels in my direction. This gave me enough room to escape from the back side of where they had stopped, and drove forward towards the street, while they were facing the opposite way, away from the street and had to go back and forth to make it back into the street. This gave me enough time to get away.

One way to go, no choice, I went back to IKEA parking lot, took the back way, made my way back to the main streets again, and headed back home the long way, all along worrying that they might catch up with me again. Back home I waited for an hour and then went back to IKEA again, parked my car half a mile away and walked there. Come to find out they were sold out of Hand Rings.

Oh well, I didn’t care. I was content that I had avoided a potentially dangerous situation. From here on if someone honks at me to tell me fuck you, I let it go. It doesn’t take away anything from me. I’m fallible, but I believe in non-violence, so I have to practice it.

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