When I was reading Kathleen’s last article on random acts of kindness she did, I remembered an incident that happened to me on one of New Jersey’s roads.
It happened on my morning commute. I commute 45 minutes each way for work. All the people I meet can tell a story that proves what good drivers they are and that the thousand other drivers on the road are stupid and never learned to drive properly. I can admit without a problem that I am an average driver. I drive neither very well nor too bad, and like everybody else, I have my good and bad days.
Sometimes, I can also be a pest.
One morning while I was waiting at a light near my house, mumbling about the frigid temperature and my job that makes me wake up at five in the morning when the thermometer was marking -7oF (-20oC), a car came behind me and the driver was already honking to make me move. In New Jersey, you can make a right at a red light and this impatient driver was reminding me furiously. And it annoyed me. I was already not happy to be outside and this aggressive early riser was laying it on thick. One doesn’t push me in the early morning!
When the light turned green, I started slowly and during the next 10 minutes, I followed dutifully the signs on the road and never passed over the speed limit. I was imaging the driver behind me boiling with rage, and without thinking about any of the Buoy Blog’s posts on compassion and forgiveness, I was sneering maliciously at him.
When he could finally pass me, he showed me a swaddle and vengeful middle finger. I gave him a nice sign wishing him a good day. I laughed for five more minutes.
But the road was still long and I had 30 minutes yet to ruminate this mischievous and stupid episode. I took away three things from this incident on the road.
- Following dutifully the traffic laws doesn’t make you a friend to the other drivers. It’s sad to see that we are all machines with wheels when we step into a car. We lose our common sense. Here, I am talking about New Jersey where drivers are 100 times less aggressive than in a French town like Lyon for example.
- We have more ideas in mind of all the things people may think about us than they really do. After all that morning, was the honking really angry? Maybe the driver was just friendly and trying to help me wake up with gentleness. Even though, what good it did to me to sneer like that?
- It is not easy to be kind all the time, and particularly at six in the morning!
Nothing can scare me, and for the Buoy Blog, I will take back the buoy list and try to do 10 random acts of kindness. I will tell you all about it, good or bad.
For now, here is a cartoon from 1950. Who said that the world changes too fast?
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