I had come to a stop sign at a T intersection. The cross-traffic did not have to stop. But I was certain the car coming from my left was going to turn down my road. He was driving slowly, much slower than the speed limit, and even swerved to his right, heading towards me. He straightened up the wheel, and as he drove past, I saw his iPhone held up at eye-level and over where a passenger’s head might be. He wasn’t talking into it, but his thumb was quite active. Well, mystery driving accounted for.
I followed him the block to the traffic light. Actually, not exactly followed, for he swung into the other lane a couple of times. The light changed green several yards before he reached the intersection, but his break lights went on and he was coming to a stop. Green light. Stop. Pedestrians stood on each of the corners. One not daring to step into the street. He probably saw the driver was texting. The other started to cross the street against the light, to go in front of him.
That’s when I did it. I don’t do it very often at all, maybe once a year. I tooted my car horn so the guy would pay attention and not run over or into anyone. What was this man’s reaction? He looked in his rear-view mirror and raised his phone at me. I think he was attempting to flip me the bird, but all I saw was a raised phone.
So what is the true character and priority of this driver? Certainly not anything legal. Safety of others isn’t too high on his list. And to attempt an offensive sign to someone…
Time for a writing exercise. Round him out as a character: Give him a name. Who was he texting? Why was it so urgent? Where was he coming from? Going to? Who is is best friend? How did they get into trouble two years ago? How many girlfriends does this guy have? Occupation? How many times a week does an exclamation or bird-flipping event happen? Who has mentioned “anger management” to him and under what circumstance?
Real life. Real characters. Write them into your fictional ones. How would YOUR main character react to a toot of a horn?