What causes us to place ourselves at the epicenter of this very big universe? When were we told that we were more special and entitled than the masses?
Or, more to the point, perhaps we weren’t told that. Some of us got the message—we’re all in this together. Others of us seem to be making up for the fact that we weren’t told we were special—and are setting out to show the world it was wrong about us. Genuflect appropriately, please.
This post has been brewing for a while. I am usually inspired as I drive back from dropping my kids off at school. As I observe the birds being flipped, the shouting back and forth, horns honking and general rudeness, I realize I have a choice.
When these lovely fringe benefits of driving are not happening to me, I have the chance to see how ridiculous the people perpetrating them are. How truly jacked up you have to be to lose it over someone going 5 mph under the speed limit. Especially if that someone is a white-haired octogenarian.
Why is your Pilates class more important than my business meeting? Does getting one car ahead in the Starbucks line put you one step closer to your boss/your workout/the laundry waiting at home? Really? Think about that.
Were your born with this special, superior quality or have you earned it because you: a) make more money than your fellow drivers (yes, I’m talking to you BMW fans), b) are entitled to your impatience because your life is so much busier than your fellow humans or c) were just born genetically superior so we should all just get the hell out of your way?
I could, of course, add to the road rage. My car has a little zoom-zoom to it. And I freely admit to bitching at the other drivers when in a hurry.
However, I am human. Human is excusable. I draw the line at obnoxious.
Today, as I waited in line at my usual Starbucks drive-through, I attempted to merge when it was my turn. Two stop signs at an intersection allow two lines to become one for ordering. When the lovely gentleman (and I use that term oh so loosely) in the Honda ahead of me cut me off, I looked quizzically at him. Gestured in an annoyed manner. He pointed to the line behind him as if to say, “I was waiting longer than you were.”
Oh. I’m sorry, sir, you chose the wrong freaking line. You’re absolutely right. I should pay for that, correct? Because you and your strawberry smoothie (Really? At Starbucks?) have somewhere important to be. Much more important, I’m sure, than the conference call I have on a major global project. For which I’m caffeinating, which I never do. And thank God you cut me off BEFORE I caffeinated or I might have to squish your tiny little head between my hands.
Oops. Got on the cranky train there. See how road rage works?
So, instead of honking or some other unoriginal response, I smiled. Sarcastically, but ok, I smiled. Flipped him the peace sign. And shook my head.
His expression changed. He felt like a schmuck. It showed.
Good. He was a schmuck.
And then I began chair dancing in the driver’s seat to my favorite new song. At which point, Crankypants actually smiled. Unsarcastically.
He didn’t pay it forward by paying for my coffee, but it’s a start.
Does peace begin with me? I guess so. Somewhat pathetically this morning, but it’s a start.
Thank God I ordered decaf. It could get ugly out there.
21 Comments Add yours
Love this! Being human…Grrr! (sometimes)
Ah, yes:). I’m quite good at being extremely human . . .
and its so important to have our inner peace or the world around us will destroy us!
That’s why I meditate:)
Thumbs up for meditation!
what do u think about when meditating?
I have found that thinking about the truth of the Bible; that the Lord Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save us from horrible punishment for our sins helps me as a starting point in trying to find inner peace
the love and grace of God is amazing!
I’m glad that works for you. I am not big on the horrible punishment aspect of things. A bit more metaphysical. But, I do try to focus on light, love and turning it all over to a power higher than myself.
sometimes the truth stings but its the truth that sets us free…better to deal with it now then have to face it when its too late 🙂 🙂 we need to understand the punishment so that we can understand that we can have forgiveness and be saved from it 🙂
p.s its lovely to have amicable discussions like this!
I hear you. I think where we differ is on “the truth.” I don’t think any of us can guarantee that our truth is THE truth. I respect your point of view–I just don’t share it.
fair enough ….. i understand ur point of view completely 🙂
it seems that people are becoming angrier every day…i for one am sometimes guilty of that…i guess we are living in an exclusive society, from a sociological point of view; one filled with insecurity and intolerance and getting worse….
I have to admit here that I learned to drive within 8 miles of the city of Boston. So, aggressive used to be my middle name. But! I haven’t lived there in a few decades, I have mellowed considerably, and I have done a ton of work on myself (it takes a lot more to get me riled up these days). A few years ago when I had to return to the Boston area to deal with both of my parents being hospitalized at the same time, my older brother and I both flew in. He did the driving for the first 2 days I was there. I sat there, laughing inside, as he got all ticked off and wound up at every single little thing. The next day, I did the driving because he was leaving and I had to know how to get around. I did not flip out or get impatient. And for the entire month I was there, I didn’t revert back to the former Boston driver I had once been. (No, I’m not perfect- I have my moments).
Laughing because when I drive in the city, I revert back to my city ways:) My boys tell me I honk a lot more . . . good for you for finding the zen!
Great post! Never underestimate the power of a smile and a peace sign! 🙂
The drivers that get me are the “soccer moms” in their big SUV’s (why would a middle-aged woman need a Hummer?) talking on their hand-held phones. I have been cut off dozens of times. The thing that gets me is that my 15 passenger van is bigger (I have nine kids)! I am very aware that I could kill someone with my van so I try to let it go, let them into the line, not try to jump out ahead when the light turns green. Then I am more at peace.
Agree with you! Have been cut off many times as they have what appears to be very important call, only to pull up next to them and hear it’s gossip or about the new ballet teacher. Ugh.
I love it when I one-up people who are behaving a little douchey!
also – your BMW comment. I remember a study once released that indicated they were the jerk-iest of all drivers!
hey look, science backs me up!
I would never in a million years have guessed Prius!
Brilliant piece (or should that be “peace”?), thank you. The anger on the roads is extraordinary. But as you say, we can work against road rage. Last year, a woman nearly ran be down on a pedestrian crossing. She wasn’t going fast, she just hadn’t seen me. I was about to react badly as she skidded to a halt. But then she looked contrite and said “SORRY!”. I gave her a big smile, said it’s OK, and she smiled back and was on her way. I felt good all day—much better than if I’d shaken my fist at her.
Wow. You were very magnanimous! I’m glad it wasn’t from a stretcher:)
I might not have been so forgiving then!
I too get rather impatient with those going 10 miles or under the speed limit or driving like andretti (except they are not that good) & then sometimes I try to be understanding but that is not the usual – will try harder