Today was the 3rd incident of road rage I witnessed while driving around town this week. Seattle residents seem particularly on edge this week, I can feel it everywhere I go. So, perhaps there’s some secret I’m just not in on. But, I doubt it. I think people are just settling into the dreariness of the post-holiday season all while trying to adhere to their carefully crafted resolutions.
Still, if our New Year’s resolutions have us so grumpy we’re willing to scream at perfect strangers over minor infractions, then maybe it’s time to abandon our ambitions…or at least our approach to them.
Today, while exiting the University Village Trader Joe’s parking lot (the WORST parking lot in the world), a woman annoyed I was taking too long to buckle my kids in their seats and back out of my spot, began angrily slamming her hand on her horn again and again. Yelling at me from her car. And it didn’t stop there. She then got out of her car to approach my vehicle, banging on my window and yelling, ‘so you don’t know how to drive, do you? You don’t know how to drive?’ With the most angry, crazed look on her face.
I don’t know what this woman had been through in her week. But, I feel like you have to be in a pretty low place to watch a mom buckle her preschoolers into their carseats and then STILL think it’s a good idea to scream obscenities at her while she’s stuck in the parking structure maze of traffic.
January 1st we drink mimosas, go for an afternoon run, and promise to be better people. By January 9th, we’re screaming at strangers over seconds lost in a parking lot.
As for me and my resolutions, one is to reclaim the time spent in the car each morning on the way to school with my kids. We’re listening now to Wonder by R.J. Palacio. In one of the most touching parts so far, a teacher instructs his middle school students,
If you have to choose between being right and being kind, choose kind.
What I said to the woman in the parking structure was ‘calm down.’ It wasn’t the right thing to say. But, I’ve thought about what would’ve been and I’m still not sure. In a perfect world, I could have said, ‘if you have to choose between being on time and being kind, choose kind.’ If you have to choose between being safe and being kind, choose kind. If you have to choose between being careful and being kind, choose kind. I didn’t say those things to her. So, I’ll say it to you instead: