...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

and this bird you can change

On the way home from work last week, I was flipped off by a bicyclist who was not only unaware of traffic rules as they pertain to the mall parking lot, but was also quite erroneous in thinking I intended to race through the stop sign and strike him with my mini, thus capping off my perfect day. To let me know what he thought of me, he unleashed his raw emotions and flipped me off. Then he proceeded to yell at me, which was quite effective because I had the windows rolled up and the new Radiohead playing loudly, thus drowning out his pointless anger. Seriously. Is the yelling really necessary? When I asked him that in a silent inquiry mouthed back at him, he flipped me off again, this time with both hands. The Deuce. Classy. Super skills!

I can count on one hand the number of times I've given someone the finger. At least where they were able to see me doing it. When I'm wronged on the road, I spend so much time debating the merits of flipping off or honking my horn at the other motorist that by the time my middle finger grows a back bone and stands up for itself, they've sped off. I would've let this experience with the bicyclist pass with little additional thought, but the following day I was flipped off again, this time by a woman who assumed my mini was invisible, allowing her to switch into my lane and right into my passenger side panel. This time, I did honk, thinking my friendly warning would be appreciated. Nope. Instead, I was thanked by her hand raising up and her pretty little pink fingers spreading to allow her middle finger center stage. It was reflected nicely in her rear view mirror, so again it was like getting the double flip.

These encounters have me wondering. Does flipping someone off honestly make you feel better? If you let your middle finger fly in a situation, even one as innocuous as a minor traffic matter, do you think, "Well, I certainly showed them!"? Because I'm admitting I don't feel that way about this gesture. Maybe I think flipping someone off is simplistic. Sure, we know the middle finger carries a universal spanking, and because it's been around for the ages, people do have a fondness for it that seems to speak of it's apparent voiceless power. But to me, it just seems so boring.


That's it. I'm bored by the finger. Flipping me off simply fails to impress me.

To rectify this, I propose making the flip off ornamental. More entertaining. Awash with pizazz. I won't necessarily mandate these things, because I realize I carry very little power in the real world, but in the fake world, well, I like to think of myself as having control. Therefore, I'll take the lead. Should I ever have need to flip someone off (and I have one or two really strong candidates for the initial run), I'll raise my hand regally, extend my middle finger with pride, and rotate my hand in a royal wave so all who see benefit from the message. There will be little question the intent AND the beauty behind the gesture.

Another option might include dressing up your digit in a jaunty finger puppet ensemble. If you have the opportunity to quickly slip an evening dress or a tuxedo complete with a top hat to give that bare fingertip of yours a sophisticated edge before tossing off that "f you!" to an offending party, then no one can say you're not classy. Or, if you dream of being the bad ass you're not able to pull off being in real life, slip some dark and brooding look onto your digit and ask those that offend if they wish to dance with your anger. Everyone fears a dark and mysterious stranger, even if that stranger is a scraggly old finger.

My other suggestion is simply holding up a sign. Do not underestimate the power of a simple picture at conveying your "f off!" to another party. I suggest a lion feasting on a gazelle, a crying person being screamed at by another, shattered glass or, you know, whatever. A simple picture lets you avoid having to politely explain why you're yelling at the other party, even though that person can't hear you because that new Radiohead disc is pretty damn good.

Which provides me with a final suggestion. Set your flip off to music. Something loud, industrial and intense, let's say, because if you really don't want them to hear you as you scream at them, such a soundtrack works magnificently. Or, if you really want to throw the other party for a loop, try a classical selection. They might be offended by the finger, but they'll be soothed by the picturesque orchestration of Tschaikovsky.

Those are just a few of my thoughts. I'd be open to your suggestions on how to flash up the flip off. However, I'll still probably be the person who avoids giving the bird to someone, because regardless of how pretty it could be, I still don't understand the need for it. Plus, seriously, it's called 'flipping the bird,' for heaven sake. How unoffensive does that sound?

Though I'm kind of partial to that idea of dressing up my finger.

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21 Comments:

Blogger The Savage said...

Knowing the origins of the finger as an insult makes it rather pointless towards me as I never tried to sever anyone's bow fingers.
As to those cheery bicyclists who are beyond traffic laws I say this:

:If you want to share the road then share the taxes.

To them I bite my thumb.

Monday, October 22, 2007 6:09:00 AM  
Blogger Sailor said...

Does it also seem as if the drivers/cyclists are much quicker to flip said bird?

I'm more amused than irritated by people that feel somehow they've "told me", especially when they do it in circumstances such as you describe; not needed, as in the case of the bicyclist, or when they're wrong, as in your lane-changing encounter.

Odd

Monday, October 22, 2007 6:32:00 AM  
Blogger Stacie said...

Guilty! Guilty Guilty Guilty your honor. I am a flipper of the bird. It truely does make me feel better. I keep my opinions and unhappy thoughts to myself in every other situation in life EXCEPT on the road. The road is the ONLY place in life where I do NOT keep my emotions bottled up. I will flip if I have red polish on or black. Pink, or purple, or even that time I was rocking the green nail polish. I will flip if I have no polish or a hangnail. I will flip if I'm wearing gloves or my hand is naked. But either way, rest assured, I WILL flip. My flip is most commonly accompanied by the words "Sit and spin you stupid ass Mother F*er, I hope you die!" cuz that makes me feel much better. If it's a man who's trying to bully me on the road, and I mean bully rather than just someone who's being careless, then I DO NOT Flip them off, here's why..the flip would only make THEM feel better. They would then get exactly what they wanted in bullying me: power. No, I won't give them that. I simply smile and blow a little kiss. It pisses them off to no end every single time. But if it's someone just being an asswipe..yeah..sit and spin baby, sit. and. spin.
I'm crazy like that.
Stacie

Monday, October 22, 2007 7:09:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

My husband is a frequent bird-flipper/horn-honker when offended on the road. It always makes me cringe. I'll honk at someone who is endangering myself or themselves or others around us, but otherwise I keep my road-rage displays to myself.

That said, I love the idea of holding up pictures to express my driving displeasure. A man stealing the pot at the end of the rainbow, only to find it empty? A parachuter helplessly yanking on a non-functioning release cord? A nun spanking a naughty child? Conceptual, perhaps, but I think they really get across the message that reckless driving has no rewards, is dangerous, and can perhaps even be humiliating. I might market this line of driving signs. You'll get 10%, of course.

Monday, October 22, 2007 8:44:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I found that this post was even funnier when I read it outloud in a Jerry Seinfeld voice.

"What is WITH the middle finger?"

I've never flipped someone off while driving. Never even considered it. It makes me laugh. I find it quite amusing that anyone would stick a finger up at me and try to make it mean something.

I go for the toe. You know you are insulted when someone gives you the toe.

Monday, October 22, 2007 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Well, gosh, DKG. . . I flip people off way less than I used to. . .

See, I'm an avid cyclist. . . and, while, from what you describe, your cyclist-friend was definitely of the jerk variety, who give all the rest of us cyclist-finger-flyers a bad name, I try to reserve it for those instances in which a special form of. . . communication. . . is called for.

Like the time I was riding along a country road, and a carload of college kids blew past me, then stopped 100 yards or so up the road. Then, when I was within 5 yards or so of their rear bumper, they peeled out, throwing gravel at me. Nice kids; I'm sure their mothers would be proud. Or the toothless Bubba who celebrated the Fourth of July by throwing a string of firecrackers at me. Hoorah for the red-white-and-blue, and all that. . .

But my all-time favorite cycling/finger story is the time I was on an 'organized' tour on a Sunday morning, along with a few hundred other riders (us Catholics usually have a Saturday evening Mass available to us, for just such exigencies as Sunday-morning bike tours ;) )

We were pretty well spread out all along the particular country road on which we were riding (but, you can be sure, we were as far to the right as we practically could be; don't want to impede traffic, you know). But apparently, we were just too in-the-way for one august Sunday-morning motorist, who drove all along the line, laying on his horn, with his left hand held high out his driver-side window, flying the bird with a pumping fist as he drove. It wasn't until he actually passed me that I saw that his wife and kids were in the car with him, and they were all dressed in their Sunday best, going to church. I only hope that he was able to collect himself into a more, uh, 'worshipful' frame of mind/spirit by the time he arrived at church. . .

I have often fantasized about a kind of reverse neutron-bomb, that would obliterate the car out from under such drivers (and maybe even their clothes), leaving them sitting in the middle of the road, wondering what the hell happened. . .

Monday, October 22, 2007 9:03:00 AM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

Wait, I have an unrelated question (as usual). Did you know how to spell Tschaikovsky or did you have to spell check it? Oh wait, I just spell checked it and it is wrong. Thank goodness. I was almost totally impressed.

Anyway, what were we talking about?

Monday, October 22, 2007 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger XI Summit said...

Of all the gestures available to one in time of need, 'the bird' is most useless of all. Flying far more than its creator ever intended, it has lost its feathers. Or perhaps molted. To the point that, in our day and age, it is more comic relief than anything else.

Just one odd man's opinion. When I see the bird now I smile or laugh, declare myself Number One, and continue on my way. Oh, and sometimes wave back. Smiling. Really, it has no hold on me and is of no use to me.

Monday, October 22, 2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy Lou said...

The other day a little old man flipped me off - at first I thought he didn't really know what he was doing - didn't know what it meant, but then he leaned on his horn to emphasize his point (I'm not sure what his point was, since I was in my lane and it was he who decided to try and share - which, as we know is not physically possible for two cars to do).

I like the idea of dressing up the finger - maybe an angry little goth finger. Or maybe something a little different, a grouchy old man finger...

Monday, October 22, 2007 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

Loving the finger puppet/costume idea. Possibly because of the odd body parts I've dressed in my past (and certifiably MUCH more interesting life). Those little green hats that come on beer for St. Paddy's Day? Versatile little suckers.
also your entry reminded me of a funny joke the guy who shares my cube wall told me this AM. "I'm on a new diet!" he proclaimed. "Yeah?" I asked, preparing to feign interest. "Yes, I'm letting hate eat me from the inside."

Monday, October 22, 2007 5:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

First off, check THIS out! How much fun would that be?

Finger flippers generally amuse me, because I find that the only time I ever get it is when the other person is dead wrong! Just last week, a woman in some beat up old 1980ish rust bucket ran a stop sign right in front of me (I didn't have a stop sign). I honked my horn, and she stopped right in the middle of the intersection as I was turning left in front of her, flipped me the bird, leaned halfway out her window and started screaming at me. "Shut the F*** up you white trash B****." Yeah, me in the business suit, and the brand new Mazda 3...white trash, right! The girl I was with and I just started laughing hysterically and honked again until she moved.

Oh and look at the rest of that Think Geek site. I bought half my kids Christmas presents from that website last year! Fun stuff!

Monday, October 22, 2007 6:04:00 PM  
Blogger *Sparkles* said...

I am a fan of the WTF hands. You know, this is where you mouth WTF and hold up both hands in a 10 and 2 fashion with a look of disbelief on your face. Just as ineffective as the bird but it does burn more calories as it involves two hands.

PS: Sorry for cussing on your blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Savage - It would be an entirely different world if we were compelled to honk our horns at fellow motorists, motion them over and then hop out and sever their middle fingers. But I bet we could do it with a killer accent, because that would be necessary.

And wow. What did we forget here, hmmm?

Sailor - I do tend to have unheard, one-sided conversations with the flippers as I'm tagging behind them or beside them. I become quite the psychologist, asking if they feel better now, what did I ever do to them, etc. I suppose that trait is just as irritating to them as them flipping me off.

Stacie - No one can deny your passion, my friend! I am one who blows kisses sometimes, too. But, like you, I give the other driver a quick consideration before deciding if it is in my best interest to engage them in such a response.

Wow. If only I had thought of that in some real life situations around here...hmmm...

kelly - Yep, aside from the random blown kiss, I'm like you, keeping my road thoughts pretty much to myself. My mom is quick to hit the horn, which I find funny and yet sad considering she sometimes drives as if she has suddenly been transported to Europe via that right hand turn she took the block over. I cringe when I'm with her, not only for the driving, but because the quick judgements. And then I call her Mary Poppins, or some other English thought that pops in my head.

Speaking of thoughts, might we consider renegotiating this sign contract? I'm a rather poor lass.

FTN - I think you just like it when I type with bold letters, which I would *totally* do here, but you know me. Well, you don't *know* me, but you *know* me.

See how I let the asterisks do the bolding for me? Nice, yeah?

Nice like a toe. I've, ok, come here to confess that I've, once or twice, flashed someone while driving. Though, in retrospect, I think it had little to do with road rage.

Desmond - As described, you had some valid points for use. I guess I can't complain with the idea that there are times when the truest instinct is to raise up that finger and let wave. And I'm not saying you may not be a people pleaser, but I'm such a raging people pleaser that I first give *way* too much thought to the fact that I may possibly offend the other driver if I, in fact, flip them off. Yeah, it's really more a curse than it is a blessing, this people pleasing thing.

RS - Goodness, man. You gotta bust my chops over that? It's not like I spelled it Chiacoughfskee, right? And let it be known that, yes, the spelling typically doesn't have the 's' in it, it is also noted throughout accounts the way I spelled it. Without looking it up. Because I rock, Tschaikovsky-style.

XI - When this thing happens to me when I'm having a particularly good day, I will wave to them in a gesture of thanks for thinking that I, too, am tops in their world.

Mandy Lou - I'm totally on board with a moody goth finger puppet. Or an emo kid. Perhaps a cutter. There is a wealth of ideas out there. I should really get on this.

1blueshi1 - It's quite possible that diet line will become my new mantra. I don't have a present mantra, so good to go. Let it be known, too, that I'm crafting a witches hat out of construction paper this morning to take along on my drive to work.

Chrissy - That website is very cool. And I love the idea of the flashing emotes for the back window. I'm almost positive if I showed them to my husband they'd show up in a gift bag for me for my birthday.

*sparkle* - No need to apologize for the cussing. I like to smack in a few 'f that' and the like from time to time. I admit that I am a raging fan of the WTF hands. In fact, I think it's safe to say that if there was a prize for best use of WTF hands, I would be the reigning champion.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 9:23:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

OK, full disclosure. . . in recent years, my 'manual communication' habits have significantly shifted in the direction of the raised, open, 'WTF?' gesture. Seems to engender less, uh, 'escalation of hostilities'. And, pugnacious as I can sometimes be, I try not to just go around picking fights. I just wanna make myself understood, dontcha know. . .

I have a friend from Spain, who gets absolutely driven to distraction in the US, because, where he's from, the raised index finger has all the phallic connotations. When they want to order 'one beer', they use either their thumb, or the middle finger, never the 'pointer'.

Altho, I admit that my favorite 'F-you' Gesture From Around the World is the back-handed 'V-for-victory' sign, with the thumb tucked ever so demurely in the crotch of the 'V'. . .

Just in case you were wondering. . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Who, exactly, are you flashing while you're driving?

And how come *I* never get flashed? I've been driving for half my life, and I don't think it's ever happened once. Much like the aforementioned Random Email Nakedness.

Maybe it only happens in your corner of the midwest.

And maybe I need to move. That house next door still for sale?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Desmond - My youngest son uses his middle finger to point, etc. Basically, he uses it in place of all the jobs an index finger should be doing. It was cute, laughable even, at first. Now it's a potential problem waiting to happen.

Perhaps I should teach him the WTF hands. He does have excellent facial expressions that would truly enhance it.

FTN - Whoever my little heart desires. Yep. And the house next door is, in fact, still for sale. And the driveway gives you a clear shot view right inside my front room picture windows. Floor to ceiling picture windows. For the flashing. It would have to be mutual flashing, though. To be a good neighbor and all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

FTN - that should be 'whomever' shouldn't it? eh, i'm tired. so tired you surely notice i'm typing all lowercase again, right. or are you thinking about the flashing?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

I'm with the numbness on this....a totally great Seinfeld episode--too bad it is no longer in new episodes!

I tend to flip people off so they can't see me flip them off--it makes me feel better and they don't get the priveledge sp? (too tired to look it up) of my anger. :)

isadbleslte

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 1:05:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nan - God, I loved Seinfeld episodes. Who the hell wouldn't? I mean really? Really?

And ok, you've got me. I have, from time to time, employed the 'below the dash' flip off. I only break that glass case in the event of true emergencies, though.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 8:05:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

I say double salute! Ha! Sometimes I baffle myself!

Exactly! Who wouldn't?

And what is this new feature that asks if you want to email follow up comment--I haven't seen that before....anyone, anyone, Buehler?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 1:37:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nan - Probably people who don't appreciate suburban, so called middleclass humor. Maybe not so much them. Smart humor. Current for its time humor. That kind of thing.

Double salutes reign supreme!

I just noticed that thing to, about the emails on follow ups. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard about it and she told me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:01:00 AM  

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