annoying annoyances and how they annoy me

I tend to score pretty low on personality tests for paranoia, so I think I'm right in believing that the guy down the street is persecuting me. This is an unusually appropriate choice of word; rumor has it that he's a Bible Thumper. But apparently the preaching goes beyond religion because this guy is on a crusade to slow down the traffic going by his house.

Let me begin by properly setting the stage:

This is a little family who live on the edge of a park that is approximately four acres in size. There's a pond. A largely unused parking lot which would be perfect for bike riding. Trails. Trees. Manicured lawn.

Where do their kids play? In the driveway, of course. A very short, slopey driveway at the downhill end of a long, wide residential street on which the speed limit is, predictably, 25 mph.

Once this summer I was happily driving by his house in Beastie and he yelled at me to slow down (at least that's what I thought he was saying, what with the stereo turned up and Beastie's engine roaring). He had some guy hanging with him probably a neighbor, and he and the neighbor and the four-year-old were standing around in the street.

If I had been in MY Jeep (henseforth, The Red Devil) then I would have taken the chide gracefully. I do speed in that car, the big V8 roaring and music up... I'm the first to admit it, though I've made a point of slowing down on residential streets. Generally I try to keep an eye on the road instead of my speedometer, so I'm not exactly how much I go over. I'd guess about 5 mph.

But Beastie is not exactly a speed demon. The 35s slow you down, and it's a bit woozy on the turns, so we tend to drive under the speed limit. He probably thought I was some obnoxious teenager. I look younger than I am, and I had a hat on, so I could see how he might think that. It annoyed me, but I shrugged it off and went on to the store without giving it another thought. (Punkinhead and I were after something fun like donuts.)

Then, on the way back, he did it again.

I can think fast when I need to (almost as fast as I drive). I slammed on my brakes, (ok, not slammed, but slowed down to a roll) and yelled back,

"It's a loud car so it sounds fast. But I'm going the speed limit so you can stop being such a jerk!"

I didn't add that he's a guy, so he should know that loud cars sound fast; that we go to the same church, for crissake; and I've got kids on this street too; and by the way, asshole, our kids even go to the same preschool.

But I thought it.

The best part was leaving him speechless. I'd never actually seen anyone with their mouths hanging open, but I guess that sort gets shocked when someone talks back to them, and he probably realized about then that I wasn't a teenager. Several, ahem, a few years past that, in fact.

My neighbors; the ones who actually like me - admittedly few and far between, but there you are; had great fun for the rest of the summer yelling at me to "slow down!" as I pulled into my driveway.

About a day later there was one of those mobile speed detectors right in front of his house. The fun part about this was that was that even when I came upon it for the first time (there's a curve in the road so you can't see it until you're practically past it) I was going 27 mph. Not perfect, but hardly ticket-worthy. In The Red Devil, too, not Beastie. Ha!

This was a couple of months ago.

Two days ago he was out front with his kid (riding down hill on said slopey driveway on very wobbly bike (not thirty feet from a perfectly level deserted parking lot) and he had some cute little cones out that said "Slow down, children at play.)

I resisted the urge to run over one of the cones just for grins. Instead I slowed down to about 20 and gave him my most winning smile.

He scowled back at me. Fuckhead.

Now, lo and behold, there's another speed indicator in front of his house; positioned just so they can read it from their front window.

It's made it's impact. I definitely will drive down the street at about 20 mph from now on. As I roll by his house, I plan on putting it in neutral and revving the engine. I only go by there four or eight times a day. Immature? Perhaps. Appropriate? Highly.

Meanwhile, the man and I are considering calling the police department to get the speed thingy moved down here by our house. We live two doors down from a raised crosswalk over which folks regularly burn rubber in order to get their speed back up.

Needless to say, our kids play in the back yard.


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