I live on the main drag in my city. There isn’t a sidewalk in front of my house, and only a few feet of yard before you come to the busy street. That means traffic jams, not being able to turn left out of the driveway (unless you want to wait 20 minutes until there’s a lull in the traffic), and sirens flying by each night. During said traffic jams, if you were to be out front and someone has their window rolled down, you can hear conversations those drivers and passengers are having.
This morning, about 4:30 or 4:45 am, I was woken up by my baby, but I wasn’t fully awake until I heard horns blaring out front, and someone yell, “Shut the f*ck up!” More blaring of horns.
Today, driving with my baby in the backseat, two cars were exiting off a ramp and into my lane. The second car quickly merged right in front of me, way too close for comfort. I had two choices: to be someone who lost her patience and blamed the idiot for nearly cutting me off, and honking, and thinking I’m right, OR keep driving calmly. I chose the latter. I saw, and I think that driver did too, what could have potentially happened. The driver in front of him was moving entirely too slow, and they were both running out of driving space, before the lane ended. The second driver had to do something because he was in that middle point where he was driving too fast to stop, and too slow to give us enough distance apart. But the guy in front of him was scared of merging or something, he just kept putting on the brakes and would not merge! Even the car behind me passed him before he decided to merge, and that dude was way behind me. To avoid an accident, the middle driver had to do something, even though that meant he cut in front of me a little too closely. And that is fine, since an accident had been avoided.
All too often though, especially behind the wheel, people think they are in the right. They take it personally when someone drives too slow, or merges too close, or doesn’t hit the accelerator IMMEDIATELY after the light turns green. Get a grip, folks, they aren’t doing that to YOU on purpose. They may not even realize they made YOU, ever in the right, mad.
Two more examples come to mind: Once I pulled into the bank’s parking lot and parked next to a van. I saw something that caught my eye so I looked over to the van, and the driver raised her hands and gave me a nasty face, like she was ready to fight. Evidently I did something to piss her off, but what?? I just pulled into a damn parking space!!!! It was so surprising to me that I just laughed. She drove off and I went into the bank. I guess maybe she was about to back out and I was in her way or something. Another time, I was driving down a quiet street with a stop sign at the end. There were only two directions to go, either left or right, since straight ahead was a fence. As always, I was driving defensively, slowing down for the stop sign. In fact, I slowed down even farther away than usual since the trees cover the sign on the right, and you can’t see anything that may be on that sidewalk. As fate would have it, a jogger reached the stop sign at the same time. Obviously, following the rules of the road, I allowed her to go first. I signaled her with my hand. Was that good enough for her? Nope. She took my stoping at the stop sign so close to her personally, and made an “ugh” face and shook her head. Really, dude? Did I want to roll down my window and tell her what a bitch she was? Hell YES. But did I? No! In the grand scheme of things, that is not a big deal! These are unimportant matters which we need to learn to let roll off our shoulders, y’all! It is just not worth fighting over.
Unfortunately, society doesn’t tell us that. This is a society that, on the one hand, calls for tolerance and love, and on the other, loves a fight. People love to see other people get their due. What about your due? Don’t you think someone out there thinks you deserve that, because surely you’ve offended someone, even if you don’t realize it? These are not things we should be fighting over. But people goad each other on because everyone loves to see a fight. Very sad. Despicable, even. If we don’t work on ourselves now things will not get better.
I’ve been told before that I need to “say something” when offended. I do, but only when necessary. Nine times out of ten, I hold my tongue, and end up glad I did. Most of the time, someone does not offend me on purpose, and the whatever I had been offended about was just a misunderstanding on my part, and gets cleared up without me having to say anything. That old proverb, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” rings true even today. Especially today.
Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or doesn’t say thank you when you hold the door open for them, or says something to your face that you don’t like, take a deep breath, calm the fack down, and fuggitaboutit. We have enough meanness in this world. Any little act of kindness will make it better.