Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bad Experiences Make Great Stories

Have you ever had something bad happen to you and you couldn't stop thinking about it - playing the events over and over in your head and wishing you'd done things differently. This is the story of my life. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a remedy - I decided to write a story about it. So, please enjoy "Having a Bad Day": 
I was stopped at a traffic light on my way to the mall, joking and laughing with my mom and sister. Suddenly, the sound of a man yelling profanities out of his window caught our attention. I turned to see what the commotion was about, only to discover he was yelling at me! 

“What the hell is your problem?” I yelled back, knowing I'd done nothing wrong and didn't even know the jerk. 

Well, that was about as effective as spitting gas on a blowtorch. Quickly realizing it got me nowhere, I decided to try and ignore him. Though this proved easier in theory as the red light blazed mockingly. Forced to listen at his persistent bellowing, my blood pressure quickly escalated. 

My nails bit into the steering wheel. Anger turned to fear, fear turned to anger. Finally, I snapped - enough was enough!
When the light changed, I pushed the pedal to the floor - racing alongside him.

"Are you crazy?" yelled
my sister beside me.
"Sweetie, calm down," came my mom from the back seat.

I knew they were scared, but I was determined to give this menacing ass a piece of my mind.

When the road narrowed to two lanes, I sped ahead of him, slammed on my brakes, and drifted ninety degrees before coming to a stop. Forced to break, the man's truck halted abruptly a few yards away. My sister clawed at my arm, both her and my mom screaming for me to stop as I jumped out. 

The man leapt from his truck and marched toward me - yelling even more furiously than before. He was the typical small man, big truck type - only inches taller than me and maybe forty pounds heavier. I walked up briskly, but fully composed when I faced him. His face turned multiple shades of red as he slung words I’d never heard before - foaming bits of saliva shooting from his lips.

Struck with a sudden urge, I drew my right arm back, like stretching an invisible bow. With a quick burst, I released my fist - bashing the man squarely in the eye. He stumbled backward, wide eyed, chin to his chest, staring at me. For the first time since our very brief acquaintance, he had nothing to say. 

Without speaking, I turned and walked back to my car. Calmly, I put on my seat belt and adjusted my review mirror - seeing my mom’s shocked expression gazing back at me. After glancing over at my sister, I looked ahead and smiled.

"So, are we ready for some shopping?" I asked cheerfully.
Now, did any of this actually happen? Well, the screaming jerk was real. But, and I know you'll find this hard to believe, the rest of the story was made up - inspired by how I imagined the situation was resolved. What really happened? Well, I did yell back and then flipped him off. Not quite as interesting, huh? And certainly nowhere near as satisfying. 

Of course, I would never have risked confronting the guy. That's why writing about it was such a great alternative. It gave me the ending I really wanted without serving time in jail.

So, if you ever have a bad day that doesn't end exactly how you'd like it to, write a story. It's cheap therapy and may help to get the juices flowing for your work in progress.

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