Few things are more stressful than driving, I think. And to aggravate the situation, I noticed that it is behind the wheels, protected by anonymity that most people show their dark side. Most of the drivers are very nice people, whom, if you meet at a grocery store, or at a post-office parking lot, or at the video store, would certainly smile at you, at the least.
Somehow, being in control of a weapon, the car, in this case, makes them unrecognizable. Jekyll and Hyde.I find it particularly hard to take cussing. I feel a sense of violence towards me that can only be compared to being robbed or something.
It hurts my soul. Now, ordinarily, people don't curse you on a face-to-face situation. It's too confrontational. However, they don't even wait a heart beat to show you the finger or shout the F word or honk in such a way to wake up all the babies in town.This week only, two instances happened to me that made my heart sink. These, by no means reflect the quality of my driving, which is not the point here.
The first one, I was the next on a 4 way stop. This young man decided that he should go too, though it was clearly not his turn. Perhaps he was not paying attention as I was supposed to cross after the car in front of him crossed the road.Anyway, both of us started at the same time. When I noticed the potential danger of the situation, I hit the break, and was immediately shown the finger while he passed in front of me. With my heart pounding at the violence towards me, I went on my way, trying to find a thought that would immediately make me feel good, to counteract the aggression.
But the thought kept churning in my mind: why?.The other circumstance was close to same stop sign. This time, my son and I are coming down the little hill, at a speed of perhaps 35 or 40 mph followed by an older lady behind my car. Suddenly, a squirrel runs in front of my car. As I break for all animals, I swerved to the right ? silly thing to do as this was the squirrel's direction as well ? and hit the break, very forcefully.Well, the lady behind me, either because she was too close to my car, or either because she was not paying attention, got really scared, I think, and hence, very angrily honked at me with all her might.
Well, that really bothered me, for not only I have the right to stop for an animal but also because I think it is my duty to do so.I never did this before in my life, but this time I left the car to speak with the lady. Of course, stereotypes being what they are, I was not afraid she would have a gun in her possession and shoot me in traffic. I was right. I went to her while she opened the window and heard my words: "I prefer not to kill squirrels, that is why I stopped the car so abruptly.
I apologize." And turned and left. She waited until I was opening my car's door to yell something at me, which, fortunately, I couldn't hear.See what I mean? She could have answered something when I was facing her, but again, preferred to use her aggression only after I couldn't hear. That situation created other bursts of anger from the few drivers behind us.
Even if her behavior made me feel bad and even if the other drivers were mad at me, this time, I felt better, for I was taking a stand for a defenseless animal who doesn't know better than to cross the road in front of my car. By the way, my son told me I hadn't kill the little creature, thank God.Now, I have learned that, though we cannot control how others feel, we can try and control our feelings.
The best way to do this is to immediately find something to make us feel better. Appreciating anything is the best bet and recollecting great memories is the second best..© Maria Moratto 2006.Dr. Maria Moratto is the author of "The Inner Cure: Healing Your Body, Mind, and Soul.
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By: Maria Moratto