[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end. I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]
Everyone who drives slower than you is a moron.
Everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac.
I either read that somewhere once, or learned it from the way my parents reacted to other drivers over the course of my growing up. Most likely it was the latter, along with such other fine lessons as “Asians don’t know where they’re going,” “blonds are dangerously clueless,” and “red cars drive faster than other-colored cars.”
Those lessons I was able to recognize, even at a young age, as ridiculous biases. But the moron/maniac thing? Yeah, that one I assimilated as my own. And it’s effectively ruined (or at least marred) every car trip I’ve taken since.
I’m pretty good about refusing to let what other people are doing effect the way I live my life. In fact, it’s kind of my thing. But when those other people are seen through my windshield or rearview mirror, suddenly I morph into a judgmental crank. And that is just plain stupid.
Road Rage Severe Irritation
I’m not an aggressive driver, outwardly.
I maintain my “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” distance as taught by various safe driving courses. If someone is going too slow in front of me, I pass them when it is safe and appropriate. If someone is riding my bumper, I allow them to ride as long as they please until they decide to pass me.
Outwardly, I have a fairly moderate driving temperament.
But inside? Oh, inside! Inside my head, I am cursing like a sailor out of rum and secretly hoping the slow driver realizes I’m passing him because he’s a moron, and the tailgater realizes I’m going precisely the speed limit just to piss him off.
This, I have slowly come to realize, is ridiculous.
If there’s one truthful thing I did learn from my parents with respect to driving, it was my father’s sage advice to “assume that someone will always do the dumbest thing possible, and be ready for it.” That’s not bias; it’s simple observation. If you’ve ever ridden in a car for more than a few minutes, you’ve likely witnessed that there are plenty of people out there who do plenty of really dumb (or inconsiderate) things behind the wheel. Just like there are plenty of people out there who do really dumb (or inconsiderate) things in general.
But it’s not worth getting my panties into an un-big-girl-like twist.
You Do Your Thing (Jerkface); I’ll Do Mine
Mean people exist. Selfish people exist. People with perfectly excusable reasons for their seemingly annoying behavior also exist. There is nothing I can do about any of this.
Maybe that slow driver is someone’s grandmother, and how would I feel if my grandma got cursed at off for driving cautiously? (She wouldn’t, because I believe she’s actually a bit of a speed demon, but that’s beside the point.)
Or maybe they really are just a moron or a maniac. Either way, my taking personal offense to their driving style and letting it temporarily ruin my groove won’t change the way they drive. It will just ruin my groove.
File this under things beyond my control that are not worth my getting worked up over.
And, should someone truly deserve a good cursing, they shall get it from Panda Domo (see right), who is now perched in my rear window to gaze out upon everyone who drives behind me. I leave them to Domo’s judgment, should he decide they deserve it.
Meanwhile, I’ll be keeping my groove on.
Image: PDXdj / Flickr
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