It's ironic that I'm even broaching this particular topic, as those who have known me over the years would not necessarily ascribe calm, patient driving to me as a prominent characteristic. For many years I took great pride in zipping across the highway system like a banshee on crack, taking risky passes, and outmaneuvering whoever got in my way. I felt pity for those poor patient souls who allowed others to 'cut' in front of them, or didn't make a move to defend their turf when another driver would stake a claim to their spot on the road. My driving pet peeves were numerous, and stemmed from a fundamental feeling of superiority on the road. I was ruthless.
Enter my babies and motherhood.
I experienced a fundamental re-wiring of my DNA when it comes to what my biology will now tolerate in terms of road protocols and driving techniques...
I have found a new solace in patient driving. I feel joy when I see others make way for the crazy aggressive ones who 'just don't get it' (aka - the former 'me's'). I am renewed when people are kind enough to allow people to cut in front of them, and see hope for humanity when at a 4-way intersection people actually get it; that it is appropriate to allow the person to their right to go first.
This morning while pulling into my local Starbucks, I was trying my best to be one of those patient and enlightened souls. I even allowed 2 cars to pull in front of me in the drive through, and was feeling very proud of myself and my new patience as I began to pull into the line myself.
However, as fate would have it, a less enlightened woman whipped in beside me and began incessantly honking at me. She had not see my altruistic maneuvers to allow others to cut, and began yelling out her window 'Why are you cutting me off, you bitch!?!?!".
Now the old me had an itchy, hairline trigger on her middle finger, and would have gleefully flipped this woman the bird. The new me kept the twitching at bay, and in fact sat on my hand to prevent an accidental off flipping. Having recently moved from Seattle, where the people are kind, compassionate, enlightened and passive aggressive middle-finger-flippers, it has been a struggle to get my middle finger under control.
However, as I sat in the line, with the other woman honking and yelling at me out her window, I found myself smiling. I watched her in my rear-view mirror. She was fretting, taking pictures of my license plate, fuming, yelling, basically working herself into a red-faced state of things. All the while it was over absolutely nothing. She would get her coffee approximately 90 seconds after I received mine. She would go about her day with nothing else wrong, other than the mistaken impression that her morning had been ruined by 'that bitch her cut her off'.
Maybe it's the palm trees and sunshine in my new locale, but I am learning to refuse to have my day ruined by silliness. I am choosing to be kind. Choosing to allow people to cut wherever appropriate, and choosing not to allow myself the be the flipping off, red-faced honker, who allows her day to be ruined by a silly driver with their own story.
As I drove away, the other woman's itchy middle finger had more than given in, and I received more flippings off than I have in many moons. I received them with peace and pity, and though my middle finger still mightily disagrees with me, I hope that the angry, honking woman enjoys her hard-won coffee. Though if it were to singe her tongue, leak all over her car, or spill on her nice white blouse, I would find some karmic satisfaction in that small bit of payback.
Yes. I am still a work in progress.
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