“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead
I was cut off by a school bus this morning. A school bus. With children on it. This got me thinking about the way we drive and what it says about us as people. Probably a stretch, right?
Here’s my theory. Feel free to correct me if you think I’m too far out in left field on this one. The way we drive is indicative of what our personalities are like. Some people drive boldly, well over the speed limit, constantly switching lanes and riding people’s bumpers. Some people drive more meekly, staying at or below the speed limit, leaving ample space between them and the vehicle in front of them. There are those who don’t merge well and refuse to let people merge in ahead of them. Conversely, there are those who are overly nice and let everyone and their brother in ahead of them.
I drive 40 miles a day, round trip, Monday through Friday, through downtown traffic to get to and from work. I have seen a lot. I have been cut off, forced into oncoming traffic by semis, and nearly rear-ended more times than I care to count. To me, this is undoubtedly a reflection of our generally selfish nature. We put our “needs” ahead of others, which, in the situations I’ve described means putting our safety before others. I don’t believe we think about what we’re doing when we do this. For example, I am quite sure that bus driver this morning was trying to keep her schedule. But, at what cost? My life? Her life? The lives of the children on the bus? And, to what end? Ensuring that she won’t arrive a minute or two behind schedule? Still think it’s a stretch?
A good portion of the time that I am driving, my two year old son is in the back. Since he was born, I have learned to be a more defensive driver, and I am overly cautious when he’s with me. When you’re racing past me on the expressway at 80 MPH and cut me off, are you thinking about that? When you’re a few feet behind someone because they’re not going fast enough for you, do you consider who’s in that car? Chances are, you’re so consumed with where you need to be that you give little to no thought about the “moron” in front of you.
Here’s what I’m getting at: we’re like this outside of the car, too. We tend to place our own needs on a pedestal and use those around us as stepping stools to reach them. If nothing else is accomplished through the things I write on this blog, if the people who are kind enough to read my thoughts in this space only take one thing away from this and disregard the rest, I hope that it’s this: try to consider other people as much as, if not more, than you consider yourself and personal needs/wants.
Slow down. Pay attention. And, for the love of all things holy, use your turn signal.
Have an awesome Tuesday,