In Palo Alto, California, there is a street where all the houses decorate for Christmas. The street is lined with small pines strung with lights. They even put red coverings over the street lamps (leading me or my husband to always make the very stale joke about it being a red-light district, albeit one with houses worth about $2 mil). During the weeks after Thanksgiving, there are always lines of cars cruising down the streets slowly, parking lights on.
Sunday, as we were cruising, the driver of the beat up mid-seventies sports car in front of us got impatient. Annoyed that the Prius in front of him was going too slowly, he pulled out and passed the guy. It was unreal. I sat there in the driver’s seat of my van thinking, “Whoa, someone needs to chill out.”
We proceeded down the street. The impatient driver pulled away a bit and then stopped in front of the last house to look at it. The Prius driver sat for a minute, then gently tapped his headlights. Mistake.
The insane driver sped up and drove a short way, stopped, and put his car in reverse, and started coming back, fast. It was the unfolding of a classic road rage incident — over Christmas lights.
Fortunately, at that point a large and noisy group of pedestrians came to the corner. The first driver stopped, and sped around the corner. The Prius sat still for a moment. I was getting annoyed, until I realized he was probably waiting to make sure the other driver wasn’t waiting for him — either that or he was in shock.
After a minute the Prius turned the corner, with us behind him, and drove off.
As the notable philosopher Linus van Pelt once observed, “Not only is Christmas getting too commercial, it’s getting too dangerous.”