Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enemies on the road

When you think of enemies, you think of people like Osama Bin Laden. The big, bad dudes. But I think it's just as valid to think of the jerk who cut you off and then gave you the bird as an enemy too. Really, anyone who puts us in that GRRRR frame of mind is an enemy. I was thinking about that today, because, yes, some jerk cut me off and then flipped me off.

And I wondered, "why?" The thing I've learned about traffic is that you don't get there any faster weaving through traffic or by being a jerk. Being unsafe does not help matters, in fact, it only makes it worse. So let's talk speeding-you realize that your 5 mile an hour gain would only get you five miles closer in one hour, right? So how much time do ultimately gain on your commute? A minute? Two? Oh no, we can't have dinner a minute or two late. I once did a study for my own personal glee as far as how much time speeding saved me commuting to and from work (this is when I was working). Interestingly enough, when I sped in the places I COULD speed because of lighter traffic, I somehow ended up taking LONGER to get to work. Never could figure out why that was, but it happened every time I did this experiment.

So what's my point, other than berating jerks on the road? The way I figure, surely the rest of the people on the planet are smart enough to come to the conclusions I did. Okay, maybe they weren't anal enough to time the difference of speeding versus not speeding. But when you consistently end up at the same light at the same time as all the people you cut off, doesn't it make logical sense that you're wasting your energy by being a jerk? Which leads to my real point-why do these people continually put themselves through this same blood pressure raising misery every single day?

I tend to irritate the people behind me, because I've always figured that it wasn't worth it to fight the jerks, I just let them in. I try to practice a little kindness to the poor guy who probably had a bad day at the office, or is coming home to a psychotic wife who just deep cleaned his man junk, or whatever it was that turned what is probably a nice enough person otherwise, into a big jerk. I wonder, what is it that I could do for this stranger crossing my path. It becomes very easy to simply say, "Lord, I don't know this person, but clearly he or she needs you. Show him or her your love and grace and help them with whatever situation is causing this action."

Maybe it makes a difference, maybe it doesn't, but I hope that the jerk drivers out there know that occasionally, they might find themselves on the receiving end of a little grace. And who knows, maybe enough people will read this blog, start praying for the jerks who cut them off rather than returning the bird, and maybe we'll figure out a way to make commuting time a little easier.


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