A Flaw in My System

29 Jan

Like everyone else in the world, I have numerous flaws. However, one of them flared up recently and caused consternation in our home.Flaw

Nothing frustrates me more than people who have difficulties driving. It is my opinion that someone who has a license to operate a motorized vehicle should actually know how to operate that vehicle. As I write this, examples of what I am talking about keep popping into my head. All people have to do is follow the lines and the signs, but that does not happen all of the time. For instance:

When a person pulls into a turning lane, the entirety of their car should be in the turning lane. In other words, they should not block the regular lane with the back-end of the car.

When a light turns green, a person should go. After all, that is what green means. It does not mean stare at the light for 10 seconds to make sure it is green. It does not mean finish a meal before moving.

When a speed limit is posted, it is alright to travel at that speed. I understand if people do not want to drive over the speed limit, but a limit of 55 means that is the optimal speed for that road. In other words, 35 is not optimal.

When a driver comes to a stop sign, they should stop. If there is not stop sign, then they should not stop. There is a crossroads in our neighborhood that is a two-way stop. People will invariably try to make it a four-way stop.

That is a short list, but it is a good example of things that frustrate me when I encounter them. The same thing probably happens to a lot of people, but my flaw is that I let it get to me. I fly off the handle and do something just as stupid as I think they are doing.

The other night, I was faced with one of these examples and lost control of myself for a few seconds. The people in the other car did not receive the brunt of my frustrations. All I succeeded in doing is scaring my stepdaughter. It was a dumb thing to do, and I have to work to make sure that it never happens again. I know that I cannot stop the frustration, but I can stop my reaction to it.

It is not an excuse, but this behavior comes naturally to me. When I was a kid, my dad was driving me and Larry to a football game. I was in the passenger seat, and Larry was in the back reading the newspaper. Traffic was heavy on the interstate, and a guy changed lanes. By doing that, he cut my dad off.

Immediately, my dad hit his horn. There is nothing unusual about that. The unusual part came when my dad stayed on his horn. For what seemed like miles, my dad laid on the horn until we thought it would eventually give out. It never did. In the back seat, Larry started laughing. My dad had totally lost control.

Finally, the man got over into the next lane. Obviously, he knew my dad was mad and was going to let us drive by. However, that was not my dad’s plan. He pulled beside of the guy and was going to do a little yelling and screaming at him. As he tried to roll the window down, I had my hand on the button and was keeping it up.

When my dad could not get the window to go down, he started yelling at the car. Larry was almost in the floor with the newspaper over his head. He was not embarrassed. He was dying of laughter. I was laughing because my dad could not get the window down. The man in the other car was not laughing because his wife was screaming at him. She was accomplishing what my dad could not.

Eventually, we went on, and my dad calmed down. A few minutes later, it was like nothing ever happened. That is the way I am. I get frustrated at a driver. I do something crazy. Then, I am over it. I have to learn that other people do not get over it as fast. I have to learn that other people do not find it funny like Larry and I did. It has been 30 years, and we still laugh at that story.

When I was a kid, I had a terrible temper, but I was able to push that temper back as I got older. The road rage that is one of my flaws is the last remnant of that temper. It has to be pushed back, too. The last thing I want is to scare the people I love.

17 Responses to “A Flaw in My System”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 29, 2014 at 21:29 #

    We have (among many others) a “joke” about Boston drivers (who are among the worst in the world):

    Q: “What’s a split second?”
    A: “The interval between when the light turns green and the driver behind you hits his horn.”

    Around here, when they don’t go, they are texting. Or reprogramming their sound system. Or — I’ve literally SEEN this — reading a book or the newspaper. I have seen people driving on the expressway — 60+ MPH with a big fat book propped up on the steering wheel. I approve of literacy, but that’s carrying it too far.

    We have our own road manual here — “Wild in the Streets: The Boston Drivers Handbook.” It’s illustrated. And VERY funny.

    • Rick January 30, 2014 at 04:24 #

      I drove through Boston during a road trip. It gets crazy up there.

    • satanicpanic January 30, 2014 at 05:38 #

      My friends mom drove with a book on her steering wheel all the way to Arizona one time. I was just a kid and it didn’t think much of it but now I realize that was kind of nuts, even if the freeway is a straight line.

      • Rick January 30, 2014 at 05:49 #

        My dad used to read the paper while driving. I guess the newspaper has turned into texting.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong January 29, 2014 at 21:29 #

  3. El Guapo January 29, 2014 at 21:39 #

    Yeah, I often feel the same.
    Now I control it by turning to my wife and saying “That’s your boy. You’d better have words with him before I park in his back seat.”

    And then I’m distracted by her arguing that it’s not fair of me to assign all the bad drivers to her.
    Hey, whatever works.

    • Rick January 30, 2014 at 04:26 #

      Not a bad plan. It leaves room for making up later.

  4. John January 29, 2014 at 21:55 #

    Wanting people to drive sensibly. You crazy dreamer!

    • Rick January 30, 2014 at 04:26 #

      Silly me.

  5. satanicpanic January 30, 2014 at 05:39 #

    I too have this problem.

    • Rick January 30, 2014 at 05:49 #

      There should be a 12 step program for this.

      • satanicpanic January 30, 2014 at 05:58 #

        I’d have a lot of people to track down and apologize to

  6. paintlater January 31, 2014 at 11:30 #

    And to top it off, you all drive on the wrong side of the car AND the road.

    • Rick January 31, 2014 at 13:14 #

      That’s true. That’s what we get for doing things backwards.

  7. John S February 2, 2014 at 20:28 #

    The underlying assumption of all people who criticise other drivers is that they themselves are very good drivers. On what basis do they make this assumption?

    • Rick February 2, 2014 at 20:59 #

      That’s true. We all like to think that we are good at it, but that does not make it so.

      • John S February 2, 2014 at 21:05 #

        I’m as bad as anyone on that front… and then I make a mistake and think, oh dear, I bet the guy in the next car thinks I’m a right.****!

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