On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Friday, October 30, 2009

When I moved from a small town to a city suburb, I was shocked to discover that it takes at least twice—often three times—as long to get anywhere as it did back in the country. More, I have discovered a part of me I don’t really like—ROAD RAGE. When I am in a rush to get somewhere and traffic is keeping me from my appointed rounds, I can feel my heart start pumping faster as my hands ache from alternately clenching and pounding the steering wheel. I have even discovered the efficacy of the “F” word (yes, my children, even I). Still, I keep my rage safe within my car: I have never flipped off another driver, or yelled at one (well, almost never) through an open window, or even made eye contact. At one time, I would have credited my innate niceness for this enormous self-control. But then I realized there was another reason for my unwillingness to engage with other drivers.

I am afraid.

Yes, I have faced the realization that this is not a safe world. Drive-by shootings are common, and who’s to say the guy I insult won’t pull an uzi on me across the lanes, or even follow me home? It’s happened. Isn’t that a shame—that a person might be pleasant or patient not because of decency, but because of fear? Some might say hey, polite is polite, but I don’t know. It seems to me that fear is not the best motivator for civility or self-discipline. Maybe I need to delve deeper into myself to purge that fury. Maybe I just need to allow more time to get somewhere so I can relax and enjoy the ride. After all, life is a journey, too, and I’m certainly in no hurry to reach that end.

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