Driving seems to be a recurring theme this week. It keeps becoming a topic whether I want it to or not. So, it’s best to just write it out and let it find its own way across the page.
Lately, the roads have been full of high drama. It’s been hot. The A/C in the van and my husband’s 4-Runner are busted so we enjoy the wind whipping in the windows and struggle to rearrange our hair when we arrive at our destination.
Having the windows down in the heat, seems to toss us closer to the drama that occurs in traffic.
Car sound systems vibrating their surroundings like small earthquakes are up close and personal when the windows are down. The squeal of tires and the sounds of locked brakes can be frightening. Some drivers are busy talking on cell phones or texting. Some are so deep in conversation, their speed slows in direct proportion to the quality of their in-car conversation.
There are a significant number of people who fail to comprehend the art of the merge.
And, then, the most frightening of all, are the angry ones. These are the folks that are looking for trouble, find it and then decide that you’re the cause.
Recently, my husband got the finger from a middle-aged woman who looked like she sang in the church choir on Sundays, except for the angry expression on her face.
Sitting beside him, I’m still totally clueless to what he did wrong. Most of the time, I see fault with realistic clarity (but then again, that’s only my opinion.)
On a recent ride, I began to ponder the mystery of traffic. It’s something that I think about often because I spend a lot of time thinking and find it absolutely exhilarating. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (Thinking can be great but it’s of little use without some action. I’m working on the action piece. Doing both, now that’s ideal.)
Traffic is a microcosm of life. There is a flow to it that many people don’t seem to understand. You can’t go faster than the flow allows. If you go too slow other people will pass you by or run into you.
If you don’t pay attention to others and the space they need, you’ll cause an accident that will slow down every one. Even people who weren’t in the accident will be affected. They’ll inch pass the wreck straining to see what happened. Accidents should be avoided, yet are increasingly common because too many drivers fail to grasp the graceful art of sharing the road. Sharing is a necessity.
When driving you don’t always know what others will do or why they do something. Some times people will be upset with you and you won’t have a clue why. Some times you do know why but don’t think it’s as big a deal as they do. Giving others the benefit of the doubt makes driving a lot easier.
Many people don’t drive well around others. They are impatient. They know how everyone else should drive but don’t apply the rules to their own driving. No good can come from taking it out on others.
Yesterday, a friend told us that at a neighborhood convenience store, he saw a young woman on a cell phone talking to the police and crying. He asked the clerk inside the store,
“What happened here?”
The clerk said , ” The young woman cut the wrong person off. They followed her to my store and took a baseball bat, smashed all her windows and then drove off.”
Our friend, having some experience of the road, said, “That young lady probably did cut the guy off. Maybe didn’t even know it but doing that much damage and traumatizing her, well that’s just awful.”
I felt for the young woman. We all make mistakes. We all make a lot of them. The baseball-bat-wielding man stepped over the line. His response was extreme, actually, pretty crazy. It’s a crazy that had nothing to do with the young lady and everything to do with what was in his own head. We are all trapped in our own heads and when we forget that, we start causing accidents.
So out of my own mind condo, after an interesting several weeks, full of fun, a few painful lessons, disappointments and victories, I’ve come to some tentative conclusions.
It is wise to give others the benefit of the doubt especially as we speed along the road of life.
Some times, we have to take another highway and leave angry drivers behind for our own safety.
Others’ anger is another’s anger, it is often unwarranted and sometimes totally unfounded.
Beware of drivers yelling instructions from other cars. Drive your own car to the best of your ability and allow others to drive theirs.
You won’t always like what the other drivers are doing. Give them room to discover the rules of the roadway on their own.
Drive the way you want others to drive but don’t judge. You don’t know what map they are using and it may be very different from your own.
Share. Be kind. Let go of anger. Respect others. Take care. Drive safely.