We country mice sometimes have interesting encounters with you big city cats (in this case, Montpelier).

On Tuesday, I was preparing to pull out from the parking space in front of city hall (the one nearest State Street) when an SUV pulled up beside me and simply sat there even though there was about 60 feet of open lane in front of him. I waited a moment and then, as both our windows were down, inquired of the driver, a portly middle-aged man, "What are you waiting for?"

He glared at me and barked, "Don't you see that fire station there!"

"Yes," I replied, "I see it."

"Well," he said, "I'm not about to pull out in front of a fire truck."

In retrospect, I now realize he thought the blinking caution light on Main Street meant a fire truck was about to pull out. But, at the time, I didn't grasp his thought and so smiled at him and pulled out onto the street.

As I was pulling out, he yelled, "Don't be a jerk!"

I kept smiling and kept pulling out.

When out in the lane, I looked into my rear view mirror and saw he was following me. As I reached Upper State Street and was turning right, he (by then, right behind me), shouted, "You're a jerk, old-timer."

Well, as I am an old-timer and something of a jerk, I didn't take it personally. Life in the big city ...

Strat Douthat


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