I get lots of opportunities to use my psychology, peace and conflict mediation skills on a regular basis. Here is an account of one of my most recent "opportunities."
I had a rental car on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I had only been in the car for 6 blocks when a car was double parked and blocking York Road. Instead of risking fitting into a tiny space I completely stopped my car to make a point to the double parked car of what an idiot he was being. The man behind was furiously honking, furiously honking, he was also at a dead stop. In an act of intimidation the man behind me hits me intentionally to force me to move. I knew it was intentional because he had been at a dead stop. I'm forced at this point to get out of the car to assess the damage since it's a rental car. The man "plays dumb" says nothing to me, doesn't get out of the car to assess the damage, doesn't have a care in the world. I walked up to his driver's side and I quietly and calmly said: (but really upset on the inside)
"Can you please back up a little sir so I can assess the damage? "
He says nothing and refuses to move. " Sir, I'm sorry, but I need you to back up just enough so I can assess the damage as this is a rental car."
"I had to ask him one more time." He finally backs up, there are just a few scratches on my car, he doesn't seem to be concerned about his older model monte carlo.
The woman behind him is angrily honking because she is inconvenienced, so she gets out of her car and starts yelling at me while I am talking to him.
I ask him for his driver's license. " I'm so sorry to inconvenience you sir, if it were my car I wouldn't care, but Enterprise is going to make me come up with the details."
"Well, we can't just sit here and block traffic, we'll have to drive into the bank park lot" he finally says.
(I'm scared to be alone with him in a bank lot, but realize he might be right, that we have to move) As I drive to the bank lot I wonder if he'll try to get away.
He doesn't. I write down his license plate on a sheet of paper then hand it to him and ask him to add his d.l. #. "I'm not giving you this paper back til you give me your d.l." (He wasn't yelling, but he was trying to show me that he wasn't going to let me be in control. The whole time I thinking god I hope he doesn't shoot me or carjack me) I hand him my d.l. He writes everyting down painstakingly slow. I'm terrified he'll write my address down. Since he has absconded my paper, I had to take another piece of paper and re-write his license place # down, I'm "praying" he doesn't back up and run me over!
So he gets me the information and I keep talking in my "gentle gentle mother mary, I am not upset and I am not going to show him that I am scared" , voice.
We finally exchange all info. he says "I don't believe I hit you." "Well, you bumped me." I reply.
"Thank You for everything sir"