One day, I was driving in one of those pretty but impractically designed shopping centers. There was a huge median full of Crape Myrtles. At a stop sign, I stopped, looked both ways–or at least as far as I could see around the trees–and went. But someone was coming and when we saw each other, we both braked. And then this guy proceeded to scream at me–red face, gaping maw, the whole nine yards. I couldn’t hear him, but I could see him, and I thought whoa. Take a Xanax, meanie. I mean, I didn’t do it on purpose. It was an honest mistake.
A few days later, I pulled up behind a woman who was talking on her cellphone at a light. The light turned green. She didn’t move. I waited. She still didn’t move. So I kindly — KINDLY — tapped my horn to let her know the light was green. I didn’t lay on it. It was a toot more than a horn. She flipped me off! Why would she be so mean? She was the one who wasn’t paying attention. Meanie!
I even talked about this with some family. When did we become so hateful? When did we begin to believe everyone was out to ruin our day? I even suggested that I was above that because I don’t have a lot of stress in my life, and therefore, I don’t react that way.
Sometimes, I amaze myself with my ludicrous ideas.
I have a fast car. I have one because I live near Interstate 35, and I have to get on it to get places, and there is so much traffic, I think I need to be able to accelerate quickly. But today, I pulled in behind a Grandpa in a BMW. He was doing maybe 50. I couldn’t get around him, I was stuck, and before I realized what was happening, I was shouting some unkind things to him and–get this–pounding my steering wheel. Before anyone chastises me, that man never even knew I was behind him, much less that I was screaming at him. I told myself it was a one time thing because I was running late. But later, when a kid got in the car at rush hour, and we got in a slow lane, he said, “Aren’t you going to tell them to DRIVE their CAR?”
That sounded just like me. And I man a driving meanie.
I told the kid we should never yell, not even at other drivers. And then I gripped the steering wheel so tightly that I had to peel my fingers off when I got home.
What kind of driver are you? Do you give drivers the benefit of the doubt, or are you intolerant of absent-minded driving? Do you yell at other drivers or do you practice your yoga breathing? Have you been yelled at? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done behind the wheel?