I’m nice. Really, I am. I use phrases like “giving the benefit of the doubt” and I act on those phrases, way too often. Probably to my own detriment.
And with advancing age, I’ve gotten nicer. I’m mellowing out. I’m learning to pick my battles. Because I’m figuring out what’s important and what isn’t.
This sentiment copy-pastes over to my driving approach. I’m usually one of the kinder drivers out there. I do give others the benefit of the doubt. I realize that, living in a tourist town, many of my road-mates will not be From Here. They will not know where they’re going. They won’t know their way around. They’re mostly innocent.
There are some people, however, who aren’t so innocent.
It is with those people that I’m not so forgiving, not quite so patient.
Dear Driver, I see you in the lane next to me. And I know you want to be in front of me.
And under normal circumstances, I would let you have your wish. I would let you in.
But I saw how you cut off other drivers back there.
I see you applying makeup or dialing or texting on your phone.
I saw you wait until the last minute and then selfishly inconvenience everybody else.
I can sense your sense of entitlement. Don’t ask me how I can tell; I just can, and I’m usually right.
I see you tailgate other people, cutting in between two other cars that are already too close together. I see you pulling dangerous shizz on the road.
You never used your turn signal, which is customary in all 50 US States, and even more important in heavy traffic. It’s akin to saying “please”, and I’m pretty sure (or at least hopeful) that your mom (or someone else) taught you manners at a young age.
You’re already speeding way over the limit. God(dess) knows I have a lead foot of my own, but jeez, 95 miles an hour on a crowded freeway is not safe; I don’t care who you are.
You think you’re smarter than everyone else. (Chances are, the opposite is true.)
You don’t think the laws apply to you. (Newsflash: they do.)
You wouldn’t pay me–or anyone else–the same courtesy.
So, you can sit there. It’s not a game-playing session of one-upmanship; it’s the sending of the message that you can’t always get what you want. You don’t get to act with little-to-no regard for everybody else and then expect favors and latitude.
It’s a valuable lesson. Because thankfully for you, I’m nice. I’m not going to lash out at you at the slightest provocation. But what if your next road-neighbor isn’t so patient? What if they’re not mature or calm?
The inconvenience to you this time around will be minimal. It will probably cost you all of 5 extra seconds. And with any luck, it might slow your head down a little.