Found this in my draft folder, written in January. How this never got published, I’ll never know.
My cousin Tom lives in LA so most of our chatting is done over the phone while he’s in his car sitting in traffic.
My cousin Tom also has a temper because it runs in the family and also because he is a cliché of a redhead.
My cousin Tom has the most intense road rage I’ve ever seen, is what I’m saying.
What this means is basically that our conversation is often punctuated by Tom snapping at drivers I can’t see.
“Right, that’s what I told her so I–WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!!? Anyway, yes, that’s what I told her…”
It’s remarkable how easily Tom can flip the switch from screaming at someone to calmly entering back into our conversation.
While I have driven with Tom in LA on multiple occasions and can attest that most California drivers are, I’m sorry, terrible, I do not really have a proclivity toward road rage. I often just mutter a sarcastic OH GO RIGHT AHEAD and let it go. Most of the time I don’t even notice though because I am usually the bad driver other people are yelling at.
My Sister: Uh, you do realize you just changed lanes without signaling?
Me: I changed lanes?
My Sister: Um, you kind of just drifted over there.
Me: It wasn’t on purpose.
My Sister: How do you still have a license?
Anyway. Tom is the person screaming at people like me.
All on the road are out to get him, to make him late, to crash into his car, to make him suffer. Tom is the innocent victim just gently cruising through life in his little car. The streets of Los Angeles? Full of people in cars who hate him, who can’t wait to make an illegal u-turn or run a red light or keep tapping the brakes just to keep him on his toes.
THE SPEED LIMIT IS 55 WHY ARE YOU GOING SO SLOW!? he demands to know in the middle of asking me how my weekend was.
THAT IS NOT HOW YOU MERGE, ASSHOLE! I’m sorry, no, I made it with rigatoni and it was just as good!
OH GREAT, TRAFFIC FOR NO REASON AT 2 PM OF COURSE WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE JUST DIE!!! Anyway, yeah it was a FANTASTIC brunch!
Trust me when I say that Tom is a super great nice person.
You would just never know it if your only interaction with him was in his car. Or if you happen to be on the phone with him while sitting at your desk in New York when he calls to catch up with you.
Tom and I were having a great conversation recently over the phone (about a fantastic play he saw the other day! and something hilarious that happened in my improv rehearsal!) when someone on the road severely pissed him off and Tom screamed one of the rudest ridiculous phrases I have yet to hear and came back to the conversation so absurdly calm that I couldn’t stop laughing for about five minutes.
Laura: See? Because you rhyme it with the second word, not the first.
Tom: Oh, so you’re rhyming it with WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND CRASH INTO MY F*CKING CAR YOU CRAZY WHORE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom: So wait, back to the rhyme.
Tom: Are you there?
Laura: Um, yes. Is everything okay?
Tom: Yeah, we’re talking about rhymes.
Laura: But we probably should be talking about how you just called some lady a whore.
Tom: She can’t drive.
Tom: She also can’t hear me. My windows are up.
Laura: Are they?