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.