Lucas had a strong argument. The kind that would hold up in court. Irrefutable. The other driver hadn’t looked before pulling into traffic.
But he held back. Partly because it wouldn’t be fun to argue such an obvious point, and also since recently he noticed himself getting a little carried away during an argument. A month ago, he’d accused a co-worker of handling a sales meeting unprofessionally. At first, Lucas was only pestering the guy because he was bored. Then he went too far. He criticized everything about his co-worker. Aptitude. Attitude. Appearance. He drove the guy to tears. Afterwards he felt bad, but didn’t apologize.
Out of the office, he’d been hostile too. Previously, Lucas argued for fun. But it had become hard to know when to stop. Bickering with family devolved into blood sport.
Lucas sat in his car for a long minute debating whether it was worth having an argument, or to let insurance work it out. Before he reached a decision, the other guy was already standing by his door. Lucas rolled down his window, and the guy launched into a tirade.
A part of Lucas thought that this served him right. That he was getting a taste of his own medicine. But this guy’s argumentative style was amateur. For Lucas, argument was art.
He decided this guy was a blowhard. Lucas would’ve respected him if he was at least a windbag. The guy’s argument lacked style. Rattling off reasons without a thought to their order or logical development.
Lucas didn’t want to engage. His eyes glazed over as the guy continued shouting. This non-response served to rile the guy more than if he actually engaged. Lucas calmly asked the guy for his insurance information. The guy threw his hands up, and went back to his car.
The guy returned yielding a blade. Lucas figured it for a machete. He might’ve been frightened, if the guy had any idea how to hold the tool. Lucas rolled up his window and prepared to drive away. This infuriated the guy. He yelled that this was all Lucas’ fault! That if Lucas wasn’t going to use his side-view mirror then he didn’t need it anyway!
With a weak lunge, the guy swiped at Lucas’ mirror. He didn’t swing hard enough, and only succeeded in scratching the car door.
By now a few people gathered to watch the melee. Out of the corner of his eye, Lucas noticed someone dialing the police, and someone else filming the encounter.
The guy had exhausted himself by the time police arrived. Following a few more worthless swings, the guy took to slashing Lucas’ tires.
Lucas gave a statement to two officers. Neither commended him for keeping calm.
When the pair finished asking him questions and listening to his account, Lucas asked what they would have done. They avoided specifics, and instead said they just hoped this wouldn’t happen to him again.
“There’s a lot of psychos out there,” said one officer. “It sounds crazy, but some guys just like to start an argument just to have fun.”
Lucas agreed that it did sound crazy.