I Suffer from Road Rage

Q I don’t always drive to work, but I tolerate the traffic about every three or four days. Last week, though, my tolerance tanked. I was in gridlocked traffic and going nowhere. On top of that, I was late for a meeting with a partner and had forgotten to charge my phone, which was now dead. When a dark Mercedes SUV whipped in front of me and nearly took out my front bumper, I lost it. I spent the next ten minutes screaming, honking, flipping the bird—whatever I could do to show that I had absolutely no power except the most awesome power to be an asshole. Yes, I was an asshole.

Eventually, I calmed down and I made it to work, though as I got closer and closer to my firm (I’m at a large firm in D.C.) I realized I had been following the same dark Mercedes the entire time. Worse, as we both pulled into the garage and made it to the area where there are assigned spaces for the firm, I realized it was a partner in the firm. A partner I really liked. I slinked down in my car when I pulled in to my spot. She got out and went inside. I then got out and went straight to my office and closed the door.

I think the partner saw who I was, though it’s possible she didn’t. I just don’t know. There’s a chance she has no clue, as she is kind of like that. Nothing has happened since and I have not run into her at the office. So, here’s the question. Come clean and apologize? Or tread water and maybe this too shall pass?

AOh, shit. That’s a dilemma. Except you threw the dice a bit early by writing to me, who couldn’t help but post your story so that thousands of associates can read it. Not that any partners ever read my advice, but why publicize it here if you’re not sure what you want to do? For that, I think you’ve already made up your mind but are a bit chickenshit to follow through with your instinct: come clean and apologize. It’s certainly the big thing to do, unlike the inner street cred asshole that you displayed earlier. Plus, she’s either showing complete class by ignoring your total meltdown or, more likely, she’s slowly and methodically killing your chances to advance in the firm. Either way, you’re still the asshole. Be the midlevel associate you know you can be. Grovel and apologize.

Me? What would I do? I’d tread water. In fact, my career was one of treading water, and it seemed to do me some good. But why be me when you can be so much better— and a little less bitter?

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdxdj/23219947/)

Ex-Bitter is a former big firm lawyer who now doles out advice to anyone who asks. Got a question? Email it to advice@bitterlawyer.com. Or read more Advice from an Ex-Bitter.

6 Comments

  1. Strenuous Objector

    May 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

    That’s why I don’t flip people off when I drive. I just suck it up and take the shit because I don’t want this kind of situation happening. When you have a bad day in the car just bottle it up inside and then beat your girlfriend or pet later. Or masturbate with your own tears depending on how bottling it up affects you. Either way you need to stop making an ass of yourself. I mean, are you the same person who’d post pictures on your facebook of you smoking pot? If not, then why would you think your car is any more anonymous?

  2. Ellen

    May 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I would NOT apoligize. YOu do NOT know she knows or does not know, and if she is an ass, why risk it? The manageing partner at my firm often picks his nose but I do NOT say anything b/c I value my job alot and do not think it is to bad to have to look at him picking his nose.

    So I would just go with it, and hope for the best. After all, you can NOT tell every one who is an ass that they are OK, right?

  3. Alan T.

    May 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Next time you see her, say you were behind her in traffic recently, liked her car, and complain about some guy you saw at the same time going nuts behind her for some reason. You thought he was going to go postal and talk about how DC traffic can bring the worst out of people. She’ll either think you are bored out of your mind and have nothing else to blabber about except the weather and traffice. Or, if she knew it was you, she’ll see how crafty and sly you can be. Bonus points.

  4. Allison

    May 27, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    You must be among the most stupid people in D.C. You honked at a car, obliviously followed it to a parking space in the building where you work and now you want to know what to do?

    If you walked by the “Herpes Convention” and someone asked you to sleep over, would you wait till morning to ask if you should have passed?

    If someone handed you a large sign near Watts making fun of blacks, would you wander about with the sign asking someone who owned it?

    If you stumbled into the KKK convention…

    You are really a moron. So don’t say a word. Be as polite and supportive to her as you can. Its called “stealth grovelling.’

    If you go for starbucks, ask if she wants some. Buy it for her. If she demands that you service her, do it. And stop honking tough guy.

  5. Craig

    May 28, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Clearly don’t even mention it again.

  6. Guano Dubango

    May 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

    There is nothing worse than a pussy that scratches. In my country, there is also something called cat scratch fever. You do not want to get any where near a scratchy pussy.

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