Sunday, August 1, 2010
Music blares. A car pulls up beside you. Depending on the tune, you either love or hate the next two minutes waiting for the light to change. But do you show your disdain or pleasure? Come on, tell the truth. A nod, a finger, a fist, eye roll, blowing kisses, pouting, winking. How many of us, out there on the road... have experienced something that commands us to send a nonverbal SIGNAL to a fellow traveler. "Hey, listen to me. This is what I think about you, your driving skills, your car, your music, etc." We have all been there and done that, in our own discreet or non-discreet way, with or without the expletives. Years ago... at a stop sign, on a rural road, with plenty of room to maneuver... I pulled slightly forward in an intersection, in order to see around a telephone pole on my left. Believe it or not, an approaching motorist came so close to my car as he made his turn... I heard him spew venom directed at me, and saw the fire in his eyes. OUCH! It hurt. I broke into tears. What had I done to him? It was a wake up call. BEWARE of folks who are having a BAD day. I know I've had a few of them, myself. However, the angry shaking of that man's fist, vividly remains planted in my mind. As frightening as that incident was, he didn't frighten me near as much, as encounters, on a local one-lane bridge. Usually when I navigate it, no one else is coming from the opposite direction. But when another car suddenly appears and tries to scrape past me... hand gestures and words are at the forefront of my thoughts, next to survival. Now... I’m the one who is mad. One lane, MEANS one lane. Fortunately my fears are quelled and an accident is avoided. Yet the bitterness felt, for the other driver remains. I could have been killed. For some reason... the NEGATIVE gestures directed our way, are the ones most talked about. But the POSITIVE ones... are often taken for granted. Why? We don’t make a big deal… if someone lets you get in line, ahead of them, at the gas station. Or if a person gives you their parking space. Or if someone blinks their car lights at you, to let you know, yours aren’t on. Or, at a STOP SIGN, when the other driver gives you the go ahead, so you can go through first, even though... you both arrived there at the same time. The truth is... when these things happen... we all nod our head in thanks, or flash our lights to acknowledge the nicety. Why? Because it DOES matter. For that nanosecond, we've found an ally. So... do your good upon the earth, next time you’re out driving. Make your gesture a NICE one. It might make somebody's day, in an unexpected way. But BEWARE... you might hear or see, what they really think, like it or not.