Wednesday, April 01, 2009

More on traffic

The other day, on the way home, I experienced "road rage". In a sense. It wasn't directed at me and I didn't act on it but I got angry at someone because of the way they drove.

I had pulled out safely on the highway (a four-lane road that had far too many ways to enter and confuse drivers) and noticed someone up ahead needing to pull out onto the road. I pulled into the left lane (after first checking that no one was there or would soon be there) to give the guy (or gal) a break. Also, before I pulled over, I noticed that the gap behind me was wide enough to make my pulling over useful. I didn't want to pull over to make room only to have it "wasted" by someone right behind me keeping the entering car from getting on the highway.

It seemed like one more case of Magnanimous Me making the world a more pleasant place by being kind to a stranger. You know, the Random Acts of Kindness thing. As I checked in my rear view mirror, though, I saw a car in the right lane moving up fast. That car had been at least 200 yards behind me when I first pulled to the left and had not been going that fast. Now, the car was speeding up and staying in the right lane so that the new car couldn't pull onto the highway. By this time, I was past where the new car was so I started to pull over. I wanted to give the speeding car the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe he was in a hurry so I should pull over and let it pass me.

But no. I was back in the right lane and we'd passed the new car that was still trying to enter the highway and the speeding car slowed down! Now I got mad. That guy had sped up just so the new car couldn't get on the highway. Was it that he didn't want anyone else in front of him? Did he recognize the new car and didn't like them? The "speeding" car never did pass me. He didn't seem to be mad at me for pulling into the left lane to try to let the new car in. He just did a Random Act of Meanness. I didn't act on my "rage" I just let it pass but it made me think.

I don't want to come across as the perfect driver. I do stupid things on the road, too. I wonder about a lot of us who drive and don't want to give other people a break. We seem to act like it is our private road. We act like we were born in this lane and no one else should be allowed in it. We act like giving a person a break in traffic is going to make our life more difficult somehow. I guess this is a case for the psychiatrists out there. Why do we act like this at weak moments?

[Added after original post - I am hoping that in the future, I'll have the time to list a related verse from the Bible. In this case, a relevant set of verses would be:

Romans 7:21-25 "21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." - New International Version]

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