I tend to be an angry driver. It’s not that I am an angry person. I’m not even that impatient. It’s just that I get annoyed with what passes for driving these days. Plainly put, most people have no business driving a vehicle. They don’t know what they are doing. They have no idea how to control their own vehicle, let alone be aware that there are other vehicles on the road around them. It can be very annoying and very dangerous. I could live with the annoying part, but when you factor in the dangerous aspect, that sort of sets me off. I never took Driver’s Education in school. My small school didn’t offer it. I learned from my parents when I was 17 and it made a world of difference. They taught me to pay just as much attention to those around me as to my own driving. They taught me to follow the laws of the road – don’t get me started on speeding! They taught me to be a “defensive” driver. I took their lessons to heart and have never looked back. I have a near spotless driving record – one ticket when I was 18 – and one ticket for expired tags – not driving related. I don’t speed. I use my signal lights. I do all the little things we are supposed to do when we are driving our vehicles. However, this is not my rant.
My rant is directly related to driving but belongs more in the category of driving conscientiously. Little things like letting cars merge, not following too closely, slowing down when there is a stalled car on the side of the road, acknowledging when another driver lets you merge. Comedian Brian Regan has a really good bit about the final point that is not only funny, but it makes many valid and important points. I had a similar experience this morning on my way to work. I was in the right turn lane and I could tell that the car next to me on the left was going to need to get over. They did not have their signal light on, but I could tell. How? It’s just one of those things you learn to recognize when you pay attention when you are driving. Of course, I slowed down and gave the driver a chance to switch lanes. She didn’t. I thought for a brief moment that perhaps I was mistaken in my belief that this driver needed to change lanes. My faith wavered. I doubted my skills. Not for long though, because finally, at the last possible moment, the driver flashed their turn signal and then quickly merged in front of me. The signal light was entirely unnecessary. It was pointless but I’m sure the driver feels like they had done everything correctly. As long as they are happy…right? Now that I have allowed this driver to merge – and believe me, it was not easy. The person behind me was not at all happy that I slowed down. They showed their anger by honking at me and then giving me a friendly hand gesture. After all was said and done, I had a faint hope that the driver I allowed to merge would acknowledge my help and perhaps wave to show her (it was a woman – not relevant) appreciation. No. A thousand times no! She did not wave. She didn’t even look in her rearview mirror to see the person who allowed her to make her turn. She continued to do the thing that had put her in the precarious position from the very beginning: She talked on her cell phone. How did I respond to this ugly and distasteful display of incivility? I waved at her like an idiot and continue to wave for the next 3 or 4 minutes. I don’t know if she saw me. I don’t really care. Actually, I do care. I hope she saw me and realized what she had done and when she got to work she felt so bad about how she treated another human being that she curled up in the corner of her cubicle and cried herself to sleep. Just something simple like that.
Moral of this story: Be nice to other people. Or, in the words of the famous fictional rock band, Wyld Stallyns, “Be excellent to each other.” Bill and Ted believed it. Jesus did too. Who are we to argue with Bill, Ted, and Jesus?