Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned.
This has been a week of breaking. Breaking cars, faith, trust with myself.
Let’s work backwards.
On Thursday, I pulled into the driveway and got confused as the car slid towards the garage. I pressed the accelerator mistaking it for the brake and the car plunged into the garage, the wooden door folding back and over the hood as I destroyed my wife’s lawnmower, the gas grill and flung debris over my wife’s precious Mini Cooper causing surface damage to it.
My reaction for two days was to be shook, but not self recriminatory. Eileen felt much worse than I did. She mentioned yesterday as she went out to shop that shopping was good for the blues. “You have the blues?” I asked after registering the important part of her comment. She said she was taking my accident harder than I was. She wasn’t blaming you understand. She was feeling bad.
Not me. Just shook.
Okay I felt stupid.
But I was already in the throes of stupid from something I did on Wednesday.
I was driving over to church. The road was snow covered and slippery on the side streets. The car I was following was driving overly cautious. I was annoyed. After a few blocks the car went slower and braked. I honked, drove by and flipped the guy off. I looked in my rear view mirror a moment later and noticed the slow car was now going very quickly in my direction. I decided not to stop and kept turning and moving from street to street. The car increased its speed and was evidently following me.
Now if this had been Detroit where I lived for many years, I would have panicked more than I did assuming that the person driving was going to shoot me. But in silly old Holland my panic was not as pronounced. I simply kept moving and turning to see if the guy was really following me.
Finally I pulled into a parking lot, turned around and met the driver as he pulled in. I rolled down my window as did he. He wanted to know what my problem was. He didn’t appreciate being flipped off. Are you in a hurry? he asked. No I said truthfully. I explained how his driving was upsetting and confusing me. He defended it. I was going the speed limit he said (he wasn’t actually). I said to him you didn’t signal your turn. He goes I was stopping at my house. I said you didn’t signal that you were pulling off. I don’t think he thought he had to.
Anyway, by this time, I was feeling like the grown up thing to do would be to apologize to him, so I did.
“I apologize,” I said. “Good!” he said and we both drove off.
After about a half hour, I came to the conclusion that of the two of us, I had behaved badly.
My road rage operates under the unthought through assumption that cars are driving badly, not actual humans.
I read a proposal once that said that driving might improve if all road signs and stoplights were removed. As vehicles approached each other they would have to look carefully at the other driver and determine how to proceed at intersections.The idea was that one would become more aware of the living breathing humans in the other car and treat them more as one would if passing them on the street or in a hall.
This is a good thought for road ragers like me. I hereby resolve to alter my general behavior and address my own rage which admittedly at this stage of my life tends to be addressed to inanimate objects preferentially instead of living breathing humans.
Well, reader, I see I have exceeded my daily self imposed word limit. I have more to confess but that has to wait for a different post.