Just as I did this, a car that apparently had been waiting patiently for my brother and me to move from the empty space revved its engine and took off.
"Hey, Larry," Kirk said, "the guy in the car thought you were flipping him off, saying 'F-you, go park somewhere else.'" Having gotten so involved in my story, I didn't realize that we had come to a standstill, nor did I see the driver patiently waiting for us to get out of his way so he could park in the space where we stood.
The driver ended up parking many spaces farther away from the store, apparently frustrated that he got "flipped off" by a guy who stood in a closer parking spot. I suggested we go to the driver and explain that the hostile gesture was not meant toward him.
"Forget it, Larry," my brother said. "Let's just go to the store."
"No," I said, "I don't want the guy to think I'm an a--hole."
So Kirk and I turned and walked briskly toward the man -- a white guy in his mid-thirties -- as he got out of his car and walked toward the store. As we approached him, he looked terrified, probably thinking that the guy who flipped him off, and his companion, wanted some sort of confrontation.
"Excuse me, sir," I said.
The guy warily said, "Uh, huh -- " as he quickly walked by us.
"I was just telling my brother," as Kirk and I followed him, "about how some guys flipped me off after I honked at them. And just as I was telling the story, I shot my hand in the air to show how I got flipped off. I hope you don't think that I was flipping you off."
The guy slowed down, and turned and smiled. "Well, I did think you were saying something to me."
"Sorry, I really wasn't. C'mon, we're all Americans here!"
We laughed, the three of us, and chatted as we walked in the store. We talked about how we all hated Christmas shopping, especially at the last minute. And we all complained about this damn crowded parking lot.
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