Friday, June 10, 2005

How-To of the Decade:

Get Those Loud Radios Turned Down

Several weeks ago, on the Claire Files forums, (popularized by Claire Wolfe, libertarian author) user Penguinsscareme posted this ranting, setting off a firestorm of debate over the best way to handle a situation that's becoming all too familiar:
It was early this morning, shortly before seven. I was on my way to work, and I had a pretty good headache going.
I was just crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont. A long freight train was going by just as I got to the bridge, so all the traffic had to stop and wait. And wait. It was a long train, well over a hundred cars, probably the better part of a mile long.
The damned kid behind me, he was playing this godawful music, if it can be called music. He was playing it so loud that the windows in my truck were rattling. It wasn't good for my head.
That used to happen all the time when I lived in the city, but today was the first time it happened since we came to New Hampshire. Usually I just let that kind of thing slide. But the train was a long time in passing, and my head was pounding. After a couple minutes I rolled down my back window and motioned to the kid to turn down his music. In return he looked at me like I was a mute idiot. So I hopped out of the truck, walked back to his driver's side window and asked him to please turn down the music. He was able to hear me because he had obligingly turned down the music and rolled down his window. But it wasn't a sign of amicable relations to come.
"Why?" he sneered belligerently at my request.
I was a little taken aback. After a second to compose myself, I replied, "Well you don't have to get snippy about it. You're hurting my head. And I'd really appreciate it if you'd turn down the music, just until the train passes."
He didn't respond, just sat there looking at me. Then he reached down, still looking at me, and turned the music up so loud I could feel it in my feet.
It's been a while since anyone was that rude to me.

Cartoon thought balloons appeared over my head as I went back to my truck. We were on the river, between the two states. No man's land.

Before I tell you what I did, ask yourself, what would you do?
Would you sit in your vehicle and let that little pissant keep imposing his will on you?
Would you forcibly destroy his stereo?
Would you do nothing for fear of the legal consequences?
Would you drag him out of the car and pummel the crap out of him?

All these things played through my mind. Finally I acted. I pulled my truck out of the lane, did a U-turn, and drove back down the road the other way and got back in line again, giving up about 20 spots in line. Oh, and I dumped out my coffee on the kid's car as I drove by him.

I hate what I did. Ooh, I hate what I did. It was cowardly. I did it because legally it was all I could get away with. Morally, I felt I would have been well within my rights to smash the back window out of his car and destroy his subwoofer. I would have enjoyed it, too.

I don't like to be angry. I didn't follow my instincts because I thought of the consequences, and I thought of my family. But maybe I should have just done what I wanted to do at the time. This morning's incident taught that punk kid that being a thug is rewarding, that he can be a bully and get away with it.

Well, that would have really set me off, too, though I don't think the coffee dumping was quite proper, though I can sympatize. What would you have done?

Anywho, just the other day, Penguinsscareme posted a follow-up: It happened again! Same guy, same railroad crossing! What do you think he did?
I may be the most famous man in the upper Connecticut River Valley today. It didn't take real ID, nor surveillance cameras, nor road checkpoints. No, all it took was that pesky punk with the loud radio and the coffee-stained upholstery. You may remember him

from the above thread.
Yep, that's right. This morning I was sitting on the bridge once again, waiting for the train to pass. As fate would have it, who was right in front of me but Radiokid (that's right, that's what I call him now)! I was so happy I almost thanked him for the opportunity to right my wrongs!
Just as polite and cheerful as could be, I hopped out of my faithful 'Yota and trotted up next to him. "Hi!" I grinned. "Say, would you mind turning down your music, please?"
His response was direct and coarse, and I shall not here repeat what he said. Except to say that it sounded a lot like Fuck you.
That made me even happier. I looked at him real mean, like I was about to rip his guts out through his throat, and I said, "Turn it down right now or I swear I'm going to start dancing." I waited a second until he realized what I'd actually said, I got a great double take, and then I said, "And you don't want that." I then followed up with some more taunting, like Bring it on, and Don't think I won't.
Sure enough, he cranked up the volume until his whole car was reverberating. So nice of him to oblige.

And so, right there on the bridge, in full view of the morning traffic, the CT River, and the city of Brattleboro, VT, I worked it, baby. I didn't just put on a little cha-cha. Oh no. This sucker incurred the full measure of my wrath. And I don't mind saying, it was a damned fearful thing. Men trembled. Women shrieked. I give Radiokid credit -- he lasted nearly a half-minute before he pulled out of line and skinned out. I know exactly which move it was that crossed the line for him, too. But you don't want to know about that.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to beech trees for giving me the idea. Brilliant. Absolutely devastating. A million thanks.

What was the super-duper move that iced the deal?
"Hey, Penguins ... The one thing nobody's asked yet and you didn't mention: What did the other drivers do? I mean, besides tremble and quake at your power and your moves. Honk, applaud, grin, sit in numb, unbelieving silence?"

Honking. There was quite a bit of honking. A few people got out of their cars, staring, pointing, shielding their children. Some of the people were pretty slack-jawed and probably unappreciative, but I think most of them understood what was really going on, especially once Radiokid went tearassing out of there.

"But, dammit, what move did it for Radiokid?"

If you really must know...I hope this doesn't ruin it for everyone, but...
It was when I pulled off my shirt as seductively as I could and started, ah, "crotch flossing" with it.

Brilliant. Absol-flicking-lutely brilliant.