By on June 1, 2021

Shutterstock user Lobroart

Many of you are no doubt familiar with the Am I the Asshole section of Reddit. For those who aren’t, the gist is this — some anonymous user posts about a situation in which they acted a certain way and then ask the reader to determine if they acted like an asshole or if they were in the right.

Well, I encountered a situation Friday evening that could qualify for an AITA, but I am deciding to ask you guys, publicly, if I am the asshole, since this involves a subject near and dear to this blog’s heart: Driving.

Here’s the skinny: Friday evening, I was driving to see my special lady friend to kick off the holiday weekend by taking in a Chicago White Sox game. Heading south on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. It was pouring rain, and also rush hour on a holiday weekend, so traffic was crawling. I often get impatient in that situation but there was plenty of time before first pitch and it was likely to be delayed (it ended up being a washout) so I was relaxed. But someone near me wasn’t so sanguine.

Someone kept beeping their horn. Not the long blatttttt of the frustrated or in a hurry, but the tap-tap of someone trying to get the car in front to move with traffic. I kept looking around to see who was honking, and who was being honked at, but it was unclear. Eventually, I realized it was either a late-model Fusion with California plates in the lane next to me or a lifted brodozer Silverado of recent vintage that was following the Ford.

After a few minutes, it got to be quite obnoxious. Traffic often jams on southbound LSD approaching the famed S curve, and the weather and timing were making it worse. Surely the honked-off driver would understand that? Surely he or she would also know that traffic would likely clear just past that area, after drivers clear a couple of stoplights?

Whatever the case, I figured out the mystery musician — it was the Fusion driver. He pulled alongside me, for reasons I still don’t know, and we rolled down our windows. As I looked at him, I saw he looked vaguely familiar — maybe he was honking because he knew me?

It didn’t take me long to realize he didn’t know me and I didn’t know him. So I asked if I could help him. Maybe he needed directions — though why he’d ask someone with out-of-state manufacturer plates on a car is beyond me — or maybe something had gone wrong with my test car. Had I cut a tire and not yet realized it? Was the trunk or door open and somehow the warning light not notifying me? I was eager to hear his answer.

“You’re being an asshole.”

This stunned me. Had I cut him off in traffic without realizing it? Or done something else untoward? I am generally a diligent and courteous driver but all of us occasionally do something dumb without even noticing.

“I’m sorry. What did I do?” I asked my new adversary. He replied that he was honking at everyone and I was an asshole for asking him about it. He also bleated the horn and said “that’s for you.”

I rolled up my window, further baffled. I was the asshole for asking why someone was continually honking? Was he not the asshole for being obnoxious and honking constantly when it was clear it would not move traffic? I mean, I’m guilty of the occasional long blattttttttt when traffic is bad and I lose my cool, but that’s one and done. Not constant.

Not to mention that this dude was doing shorter taps — the kind that is meant to get your attention, not express frustration with a traffic jam.

So maybe he’s the asshole?

I don’t know. I sit here Tuesday morning still mystified. Somewhere out there, the mystery honker roams, ready to bring noise and what I think is poor driving etiquette to another part of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana metro area.

Since I can’t make heads or tails of it, I ask of you — who’s the asshole?

Keep it specific to this situation, please. If you have unkind thoughts towards yours truly for other reasons, my email inbox is always open.

[Image: Shutterstock user Lobroart]

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38 Comments on “QOTD: Am I the A-Hole?...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    You are ok, Tim

    Bonus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crjs5LQvIeI

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It wasn’t you. Maybe he was intoxicated.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I was driving to see my special lady friend to kick off the holiday weekend”

    Nice…

    As far as the driving situation, it sounds like at worst you were being nosy, but continuously honking is weird behavior so I think you’re fine here.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Short answer: The Fusion driver. As divine retribution, hopefully the lifted Silverado couldn’t stop in time in the rain and added some beauty lines and dents to the rear of the Ford.

    Long answer: Having lived in Cincinnati for a while, it’s the legions of Chicago baseball fans that turn Cincinnati into Wrigley South and take over the ballpark, hotels, restaurants and streets and can resemble Yankees’ fans after a weekend series with the Red Sox. Can’t you let us long suffering Reds fans suffer in peace and quiet??? :-)

    Add to the a-hole list the owner who thought “Guaranteed Rate Field” is an acceptable name for a stadium. That’s how you know naming rights have to end right now.

    And one more – I drive 3.4 miles each way to work. It’s an easy commute. Except when I back out into the street and almost get clipped by someone going the wrong way on a 1-way street that I live on, and then almost sideswiped by someone running a stop sign (and no one is behind me) just to go 10 under the speed limit in front of me, and then trying to merge onto 64, and merging is a lost cause in this city, no one moves over even though the left lane is open, and then someone swerves two lanes in front of you with no signal on because they need to make a left now. All that in 3.4 miles. Add a few more to the list.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      One time I had absolute glorious situation. Night time highway, strong rain, road flooded. I already go 55 in hard to handle 240SX. Behind me, came really fast from behind and super close, some huge p/u truck. My lane splits from the main road ahead and I keep it, but I guess he did not like that I took this lane and he was “pushing” me. I decided not to pay attention, kept steady. This continues for a mile. Then he suddenly accelerates passed me, then I see a police chasing him.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        Late last night, and it was enough to wake up the neighborhood, a multi-county police chase ended on the main avenue right up the road from my home. Guys, stop running from the police in these high speed chases. They have a few more tools at their disposal to end things quickly, and you can’t outrun radio.

        Slavuta – probably a good idea to pull aside and let everyone pass!!! ;-)

        Of course raging on the horn can lead to a Russell Crowe “Unhinged” moment where the other driver goes on a full-on rampage to ruin your life. (I think he’s kinda let himself go since his Gladiator days…)

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      Those are Cubs fans, they are a completely different animal.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        Yeah, I know White Sox fans have suffered as much as Reds fans. I love the city of Chicago (to visit), but your sports fans give my Philly teams fans (although I’ve never liked the Phillies) a run for their money!

        Cubs fans…what can be said. They had NOTHING for a century, start winning, and then ouch. Kinda makes one wish that Cincinnati area/NKY hotels would start ID checks at the door – anyone with an Illinois or Southern WI license…I-74 back home is right up the road!!! ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Cubs fans…ugh.

          Bad enough to begin with, but they got REALLY obnoxious when the team won the Series. A couple of years back I was watching a Rockies-Cubs game here in Denver, and I was wearing my Cardinals cap. The cap’s about a billion years old, beat up, faded, and dirty. I wear it because I’m a longtime fan. Anyway, some 21-year-old girl with a Brand Spankin New Cubs cap started to give me crap about it and how unspeakably lame the (Eleven-Time World Champion) Cardinals are. I asked her, “so who’s the greatest Cub ever”?

          Her answer? Kyle Schwarber.

          Tells you all you need to know.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            As a transplant to the Chicago area, both baseball fanbases are annoying in their own way, but the one thing they agree on is being Bears fans….let me tell you about insufferable.

            Pro tip guys, half the country wasn’t even born in 1985. No one cares.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    A beeping story

    I am in some rush, coming to the light while it is green. There is a car in front of me but not moving. Short beep – not moving. Light turns red. I am frustrated and giving this juicy beep. Damn car goes on red. Good there was no crossing traffic. I would kill an old lady

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    No, but that guy is like an antique Harley – he is an F-Head.

  • avatar
    swester

    For what it’s worth, I find it pretty rare that anyone other than an asshole calls someone else they don’t know an asshole to their face. Classic case of projection.

    So you’re probably okay.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    NTA – Honking a horn is the most basic form of car-to-car communication. It is, by it’s nature, inexact and difficult to interpret, unlike the other basic form of car-to-car communication which utilizes a single finger. Your attempt to clarify the meaning of this particular honk is absolutely appropriate. Especially since you acknowledged the possibility that you may have been the cause of his frustration, apologized, and made an attempt to understand what your offense may have been. This is how human beings should interact.

    On the other hand, the honk-er IS the a-hole. He was being a nuisance for no reason, confusing everyone with an apparent attempt at communicating. This was ultimately nothing more than him venting his frustration and annoying everyone around him. When an attempt was made to address his concerns, he lashed out in anger rather than resolving the situation. This is not how humans should interact. It is, however, how a-holes behave.

  • avatar
    IH_Fever

    Sounds like a typical Houston driver. Speed, tailgate, cut across 4 lanes to exit, flash your lights, honk 0.5 nanoseconds after the light changes. My favorite is the ones that run up the exit ramp to cut into the right lane, and are appalled when someone doesn’t let them in. I guess I’m the a-hole when I stay in my lane, stay the same speed, don’t give in, and the entitled jerks almost hit the barricade….

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Fusion driver was the asshole. The thing to remember is that some of them are unhinged and dangerous.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    You ran into a weirdo. They happen.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    California plates on a Fusion? That’s a rental, I’d bet.
    Chalk it up to dufus fever. It wasn’t you.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Something was wrong with that dude.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Many years ago I was driving south on I35 just coming into Austin in moderate traffic. A seriously lifted pickup with huge tires came flying around me, weaving through traffic with total disregard. Completely surprised and scared me, and I spontaneously uttered to my passenger “that guy’s gonna flip over!”
    Less that one minute later I came upon said pickup lying sideways on the roadway having just rolled onto it’s side. It was very, very satisfying. I had zero pity for the driver. When people honk and zoom by like they own the road I like to imagine them crashing through the guardrail of a bridge and bursting into flames before exploding on impact.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Tim, I swear I thought you were going to reveal YOU were the one honking inadvertently. I think the Fusion driver was contemptible. You should have blown him a kiss with an “anytime.”

    My brother in law lives in Edgewater, so I’m always driving Lakeshore at the tail end of an 800 mile drive, late in the evening. It is empty and beautiful, though, the tarmac is bad.

    I learned how to drive in Europe, and lesson number 1 is “you never honk unless there’s imminent danger.” I almost never ever honk.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Chicago traffic
    Chicago drivers
    Chicago roads
    Drivers with Illinois plates

    All A-Holes

    Here is my question after 700 miles driven this Memorial day weekend.
    Does anyone know how to merge properly when entering a highway or interstate?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      +1000.

      Tailgating is a way of life in Chicago. Worst case? Some old bitty tailgated me in in a f**king cemetery in Skokie. Chicago is literally the worst. Boston is a close second, but in their defense, their city was laid out 400 years ago by someone who clearly had some kind of 17th century form of acid on hand.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Sounds like Tim just encountered someone with his head up his a**. I judge him Not The A**hole.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    @Tim Healy- I’d say you were fine.

    That guy reminds me of the saying, “If in the course of your day you encounter several assholes, perhaps you need to reassesss who the asshole is.”

    That dude’s the asshole.

  • avatar
    bg

    Do not engage…there’s a lot of crazy out there.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      In this day and age:

      1. Have tinted windows.
      2. Install dash cams front and rear.
      3. Get a concealed carry permit.
      4. Do NOT engage.
      5. Be prepared to come out firing if you’re forced to engage.

      All the crazy people have used the internet to find one another and it has made them feel as if their behavior has been normalized. You must be prepared to deal with this in public.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    The guy’s a jackass, but this doesn’t mean you’re not an asshole.

  • avatar
    lostboy

    That guys def an asshole – maybe a jackass at least but could have been an overall tool that was impatient – surprised that you took it so well btw. (not that i know you but i’d been pissed off by that response) but in the interest of fairness, his being an asshole doesn’t negate the possibility of you being one yourself :) but your restaint says otherwise.
    (now if that happened in texas.. florida or new jersey?! – cnn worthy for sure)

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    The asshole was the asshole! Tim is alright!

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