quote of the day: 02/19/04
Here starteth the all-nighter

"Thanks for not dying at my hands"

I left the lab about 30 minutes ago, climbed into my car, started the drive out of the parking lot to relax at Tully's for a couple hours (going back to work at 19:00 to compile a huge project). I'd gone no more than 20 yards, however, when an idiot woman driving a Cadillac LeBehemoth swung too wide around a driveway curb in the parking lot and nearly drove right over me. The woman jerked her steering wheel to her right to avoid slamming into me head-on, and then she smiled and waved at me, as if thanking me for avoiding death (or injury, anyway) at her hands.

As it happened, I had about an hour before that read a Miss Manners column ( free registration required) in which a writer asked the columnist how to deal with exactly that situation:

Dear Miss Manners:

In these increasingly etiquette-free times, I have stumbled on what appears to me to be a new and slightly unsettling expression of etiquette. I am referring to the strange phenomenon wherein a driver pulls a harebrained (and often dangerous or even illegal) maneuver—cutting me off, running a red light in front of me, or such—then smiles and waves thanks, as if permission to pull the maneuver had actually been requested and granted, when in fact neither is the case.

I am not referring to a similar situation, where the other driver musters up a shrug and grin of apology, which I can accept. I am speaking of a cheerful and guilt-free offer of gratitude.

What the hell is it with people such as the writer describes? They fuck up, nearly kill someone (or at the very least nearly cause major damage), and then smile and wave thanks to their near-victim as if the hapless person had granted them leave to engage in the idiocy?

May there be a special place in hell for such persons!