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Courtesy Counts

by Paul Wheeler
(Los Angeles, CA)

Driving through downtown Glendale, going home from work, everybody going home at the same time, everybody ready to BE home already, NOBODY wanting to wait. That's the scene. It's rush hour, bloody, brutal, and (unfortunately not) brief.

I'm driving along with everyone else when another car noses its way into traffic, no regard for those who are already there, trusting - or perhaps not caring - that everybody else will get out of their way. After all, they're King of the Road and the rest of us are just Peons.

Normally that sort of action would have sent me into a fuming, cursing rage - I'd be honking my horn, exercising my middle finger, yelling and screaming, the whole nine yards.

But this time I looked. After all, every driver out there is just a person like you or me, stuck in the middle of a steel-and-glass deathtrap, trying to get somewhere.

And this other driver, she was an old woman, clearly terrified of doing what she was doing, grimly hanging onto the steering wheel like it was the last life preserver on the Titanic, eyes bugging out, her expression radiating "help!" into the void.

I had to smile. Here was someone's grandmother, downtown for who knows what purpose, coming back onto the road at precisely the wrong time, clearly wanting to be somewhere else - ANYWHERE else - instantly.

So I waved her onto the road, smiling at her, letting her know that it was OK for her to be there. She smiled back and waved (for just an instant before her hand clamped back onto the steering wheel) and made her way into traffic.

Hope she made it home OK.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Great story, Paul! It's a good reminder to pay attention, breathe and hold that anger reaction back until we figure out what's really going on.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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