Ok class, in today’s social studies lesson we will learn about several human social characteristics. These include temper control, courtesy, remorse, humility and refrain from calling a fellow human being an asshole.
My son and I made a trip together to the supermarket yesterday. As we were rounding a point in the parking lot adjacent to the stores he began telling me of an incident he had the day before right at this same location. Seems he was looking for a particular store so he slowed down a bit to look for it. The lady in the car behind him laid on her horn. She was pretty much telling him to get the hell out of her way.
Subsequently, my son and the lady wound up parking across from each other, hood to hood. They both got out of the car at the same time. My son looked at the lady and I assume she figured she was about to receive some kind of parking lot rage from my son regarding her honking at him.
Well, my son did the opposite. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I was trying to locate a particular store and I guess I was going a little slow. I didn’t mean to hold you up.” The lady’s response? Surprise! Surprise! She said, “No, I’m sorry for being so impatient and riding up your ass.” Yeah, that’s what she said.
Basically, that’s the end of the story, but is it? It’s kind of a Rodney King moment. Remember Rodney? He was the African-American whom LA police chased and then dragged out of his car and beat the crap out of. A bystander happened to capture the incident on film and for the next few weeks you could not turn on a television without seeing it again…and again…and again. Eventually, after the criminal justice system and the general public had finally exhausted the story, King’s unexpected comment when a gazillion microphones were shoved in his face became the oft-quoted, “Can’t we all just get along?”
As my son admitted, he was tempted to say something nasty to the lady. But then he had a quick second thought. He also admitted he did slow down and creep along for a moment and if he had been following such a driver he may have reacted just as the lady did.
What I found interesting, and a bit comical, is that my driving partner is usually the love of my life and the mother of our compassionate son. She, however, once behind the wheel of an automobile turns into a road beast (I am using the kinder, gentler “b” word there) who has no tolerance for anyone who in the slightest way interferes with her exclusive right to the highway.
I figure when all this new self-driven car technology finally gets to the point where the car, indeed, drives itself, a lot of road rage will go away. Rodney may get his wish–we all might just actually get along…except maybe in the parking lot.