So, yes, tonight it was I who did a dumb, knee-jerk thing. I was just about home, nearing an intersection where I had no stop sign and cross traffic had a stop sign. I have a pretty darned bright generator powered front light on the bike, along with a bright LED light on my helmet... yet a car on the cross street pulled out in front of me. My reaction? Well, acting out of anger and frustration, I gave the familiar one finger salute... just as the guy raised his hand to wave, in what I recognized a split second later was a "dang, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pulled out in front of you" gesture.
Just a reminder that we can all let our frustrations get the better of us, and do things that really aren't helpful in the cyclist/motorist relations world. Must remember to take a deep breath and let it go next time.
Now, in my defense, I will say this... When motorists yell or otherwise take issue with me, they are usually reacting to my mere presence on the road, and the fact that I might add a few seconds to their travel time. When I respond as I did tonight, it's because a motorist has just done something that could have gotten me injured or killed if I hadn't been more alert or if the timing had been a hair different.
Still, responding as I did tonight, I'm sure I didn't win a friend. Gotta work on that.