I just went for a 2 1/2 mile run. Just as I was entering Wheeling Park, a school bus inscribed with the phrase "Laughlin County Schools" passed me by. This fat kid with a crew cut and glasses pokes his head out the window and yells "FAGGOT!" I'm guessing he was in 4th grade, maybe 5th. But it was definitely elementary school, not middle.
Anyway, much to my surprise, the bus comes to a complete stop. I see the fat kid immediately raise the window. I zip around to the bus driver side and engage the bus driver.
Driver: "What did he yell at you?"
Me: "Hey, let me on the bus. I want to talk to him. It'll be great. I assure you he'll never yell out the window again."
Driver: "I can't let you on the bus. I'll get fired. So what was it he said?"
Me: "I can't give you specifics on that. C'mon just let me on the bus. I won't do anything bad. I just want to have a word with him.
Driver: I can't. What did he say?"
Me: "Well, I just can't rat him out. Let's just say he made a derogatory remark that wasn't profane."
Driver: "That's what I thought."
I was really bummed he wouldn't me on the bus. My shirt was on the verge of getting a little sweaty. Could you imagine the fear in this kid's heart as I make the slow walk down the aisle to the end of the bus?
Honestly, I wasn't even remotely upset. I thought the whole incident was kind of comical. My initial idea was to lecture him on his first amendment rights. I was going to explain that his behavior was similar to that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Personally though, I enjoyed the experience and while I cannot condone his actions, I'd let him know that others might be very offended. I also wanted to ask the kid how he inferred from my appearance (shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes) that I was gay. Maybe I was running like a pansy, you know - in a manner which incorporates "gay frolicking." I don't think so, but it's possible.
Hey, I just ran that 5 mile "Freedom" race on Monday, July 4th. I remember my time as 46:02. Basically 9 minute and change miles. As I crossed the finish line, I even yelled "FRREEEEDOMMMMM" like my favorite anti-semite Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart.
And one other observation. I might be way off base. He may have yelled "MAGGOT" but I seriously doubt it. I would have vastly preferred the term "Maggot." As if I was a side of beef running through the hot sun covered in a swath of gnats. But it sounded like "Faggot" to me (98% sure). I imagine the bus driver disciplined the punk, but I really don't care either way.
Maybe I had it coming. A couple weeks ago I flipped off this maroon F-150 pickup truck at the Washington PA I-70/79 split. This asshole was driving like a maniac, weaving in and out of cars, and then of course had to slam on his brakes because of the traffic in front of him. So I gave him the finger and a look of disgust.
This fucking idiot veers off at the last possible second. In my rear view mirror I see the dust kicked up and him charging towards me. This piece of shit got right on my ass and starts swerving at me, forcing me off the road (not the median, the rumble strip lane on the right side). Seriously, it was either go off the road or he would have hit me.
He grinds to a complete stop, angling me in against the guard rail. He starts screaming at me from the drivers seat. A terrified grandfather is sitting in the passenger seat (the passenger looked like Bill Cosby's dad from the Cosby show). And there was a little black girl in the back seat poking her head out. She looked like a lighter version of "Rudy Huxtable" from the same show.
Anyway, this guy is just screaming his head off. "Fuck you! I'll kill you next time mother fucker! Fuck You!" Stuff of this nature for about 8 seconds. I'm just blown away that he came to a dead stop in the middle of the slow lane. The back part of the truck is sticking out into the interstate. Could have easily been an accident as this is a highly traveled section of I-70.
Then he simply pulled away and got off at the next exit. I was still a little in shock. Not really scared, just more in disbelief. I've had a few encounters with road rage, but nothing like this. He was intent on using his car as a weapon. It never dawned on me to call 911. Maybe I should have afterwards and reported him. I didn't get the plate number, but it was an Ohio plate. Oh well, so be it.
What's crazier is I never flip people off on the road. Occasionally, I'll give them the "you really shouldn't be allowed to operate a motor vehicle" look of admonishment. However, a couple years ago I did flip off a stretch of vehicles at the same intersection. Now that is some crazy irony. It was the entire Pitt Panthers entourage on their way to Mo-Town for the backyard brawl. They had been hogging up both lanes with a police escort. And it wasn't just one bus. It was more like 3 buses, 6 vans and a few police cruisers with their lights flashing. So I sped past with my middle finger outstretched, proudly out the window for the entire dozen or so vehicles. And I got all of them, knowing full well they'll all be taking I-79 South at the split. That's the only time I've ever been so bold as to flip off the pigs. And I must say, this momentous perching was flipping spectacular.
So I probably deserved it as everything kind of came full circle. Ahhh, the balance of life.