EMBOLDENED

Nowadays bullying stories litter our news.   Natureman and I were discussing some on- line teenage bullying articles we had read that day; senseless, mean acts with onlookers who do nothing to help the victim/ even help videotape the actions. Carefree, laughing individuals who think they don’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions. People are feeling so emboldened, aren’t they?

One story dealt with two high school girls purposefully tripping a mentally  challenged student causing both physical and mental anguish for the victim. This time these two perpetrators were not getting  off scot free as a suit had been filed. Good, we agreed.

We  share the disgust in recognition our ‘civilized’ western society is anything but civilized…

I had something happen to me the other day when I was driving home on a familiar south side 4 laned main artery littered with strip shopping, Wal-Mart and the final gas station. That same road becomes a 2 lane highway.  The speed limit varies from 30-40mph by the businesses and eventually turns into 55mph.  Folks tend to speed up early but they also decide at the last minute to stop for that forgotten grocery item/ gas and don’t always signal.

Well, you get the picture…

Anyhow, I was jarred hearing a horn blaring. Glancing in the side and rear view mirrors I look to see what the issue was. I see nothing amiss. Then, the big black pickup truck behind me honks again. “What? What’s the problem?” I utter aloud as I have no clue. Maybe something was wrong with my car. Should I pull over? I turn on my blinkers, slow down a bit and then decide against it since the shoulder wasn’t large enough, so I stay in the same right hand lane. The truck driver switches lanes and slows down next to me gives me the finger angrily, mouthing something. I know this may sound strange but I have never personally received nor given the bird and it rattles me.

The more I think about it, the more upset I become. Like seriously, I was going the speed limit which obviously wasn’t fast enough for that pickup truck driver. I watch as the his black truck passes the car in front of me but then becomes sandwiched between two slower moving vehicles. A couple miles  later once on the highway I see the truck hasn’t passed the slower moving car in front of him maybe because of on coming traffic.  I smile thinking he’s having to go slower than he’d like, a mile later he turns into his driveway. Yeah, I now know where he lives and I pass it every day.

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En route home I diffuse a bit and decide when I get a chance, I’m going to write him a note. Remember I know where he lives… The next day I have some time and I write that note. I mention the intentional left space I leave between me and the cars in front of me, how his honking caused me to slow down, worrying that something was amiss, that he should keep both hands on the wheel and how his anger was rewarded with karma having to slow down being behind a slower moving vehicle. After writing “Have a Great Day” I added, “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?”  I felt so much better… I wish we could solve everything with a note, don’t you?

P.S. That’s a stock media photo, not of his house… You don’t think I m stopping to take a photo, do you?  BTW his mailbox is on the opposite side of the highway.

 

5 thoughts on “EMBOLDENED

  1. I try to stay away from people and their road rage – sometimes they give people more than the finger and it can get you killed. This is a violent world with a lot of mean people in it. There are times road rage cannot be avoided. We were involved in an incident several years ago and the man rammed the back of our truck. We drove straight to the police station and he followed us. The police had a good talk with him and we did not press charges against him.

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      1. The police had a long rap sheet on him. He drank alcohol and would get mean and angry at the world. You never know who is out there on the highway. He was persistent because we passed him and he began to follow us. When we stopped at a red light – he rammed us and pushed us part way into the intersection. My husband got out and talked to him and he got mad. I told my husband not to get out. We were going to our daughter’s house and I told my husband to go to the police station instead and the man followed and even walked in the police station right after my husband.

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  2. The karma aspect is a real thing. Not the “instant” variety, but the misery that accumulates from being angry and bitter. I just read a good article about how we can practice another way, The Power of the Third Moment (https://tricycle.org/magazine/power-third-moment-method/). I’ve also recently listened to a great Hidden Brain podcast episode about the loss of empathy in our society ( https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/you-2-0-the-empathy-gym/id1028908750?i=1000445588099) and, through research done by George Lakoff, how loss of empathy leads to loss of democracy (https://m.soundcloud.com/user-253479697/framelab-podcast-episode-1-122617-110-pm – listen at 57:45 but the whole podcast is great). Without empathy, we get a generation of people who don’t care about anybody else.

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