Oh, moien and bonjour. Hello, if you prefer. I realize these are not the most ideal of circumstances under which to meet, but one must make do.
Yes, we see each other, for we are side-by-side in our respective cars, inching along Route d’Arlon during the worst of the afternoon rush hour: you, having resigned yourself early on to joining the long queue of cars pressing toward the A6 entrance, and me, an entitled driver of an Audi A8 who wishes to cut in at the last moment, thereby saving myself 15 minutes.
Wonderful, we’ve made eye contact, so please allow me to go in front of you.
Whatever was that look for? I thought we had arrived at a common understanding, that as the driver of a luxury vehicle, I retain certain rights and privileges, but instead I observe a furrowing of your brow, a clenching of your teeth. Do you mean to imply that you will not let me and my hundred-thousand-euro car in, denying me affirmation of my higher social status?
Enough. Let us end this silly game, for I have already won. I will go before you, and any further displays of passive aggression on your part will be met with actual aggression on my part. That’s right. I’m going to nudge my way in front of your inconsequential little Seat Ibiza, and because you’ve been so uncooperative, I’m not even going to signal.
There, you see, that wasn’t so hard. I’m already halfway in. Now, if you’ll kindly let me finish my display of unrepentant assholery, we’ll both be on our way home, me to my 7-bedroom country estate in the Ardennes where I’ll be met by my gorgeous wife handing me a tumbler of 18-year-old Glen Whatever, and you to your squalid apartment in the outskirts of Arlon where a stray cat will urinate on your trousers.
Yes, you will be angry once the maneuver is complete and you find yourself behind me, and I assure you that such feelings are normal, for it is only human to yearn to thwart the quotidian injustices that perturb us. Indeed, you will want to honk your horn, flash your lights, and shake your fists at me, hoping that in my rear-view mirror I catch sight of your fury and am struck by deep fear of your desire for vengeance.
By all means you should perform these ultimately empty gestures, if they lessen your misery. And if need be, I’ll raise my manicured hand, even smile, as if to say, “Oops, ever so sorry, how did this happen?” But we’ll both know this moment was not due to inattention, that my right to push in front of you was granted long ago, long before I purchased this Audi A8 for 10 times the cost of your pitiful little vehicle, long before I was made partner, long before you and I were even adults.
Now, kindly apply your brakes and let destiny run its course. We both know it will happen anyway. Why thank you. Most grateful I am, and I do hope we can avoid such confrontations the next time I decide to merge in front of you.
The author works in Luxembourg and is the owner of an Audi A8