Essay: Rude Driver

Nov 29, 2019

It’s early morning and I’m driving the speed limit on a two-lane highway, feeling relaxed and grateful for the lovely weather.  Then a guy in a pick-up truck appears behind me, hugging my bumper and crowding me with his impatience.

Unable to wait, he finally roars past me on a curve and I shake my head.  What’s the big hurry? I wonder, my mood of peacefulness replaced by fear and anger.

A mile ahead, both of us have to slow for road construction and I notice the advertising on the pick-up truck for a service I happen to need.  Well, I won’t be calling that guy.  And I think how there are no free acts of unkindness.

I’ve often indulged my own impatience by being rude to someone, thinking I can get away with it by getting away.  But here’s the thing:  We can’t get away, even if our name isn’t on our truck.  How we treat each other matters. 

When we behave badly, we are often feeling powerless.  And, in the larger scheme of things, we’re all pretty powerless.  But here on the ground it is within our power to make someone’s day better—to let a car into traffic, to wave a pedestrian across the street.  Or to make their day worse. 

It’s a choice.  A powerful choice.