By Rachel Hogue
It is time we get a very controversial issue out in the open. I feel it best to just rip off that Band-Aid™ so we can put balm on the wound and let the fresh air begin healing.
The name of this disputable issue that has vexed many a person is called, “Bad drivers and the road rage they ensue.”
Hear me out, people. While I do not profess to be Mario Andretti, or even Morgan Freeman with that sassy Miss Daisy, I have been a driver for a good 24 years and I have learned several things. In no particular order, here they are:
- Personalized license plates get on my nerves. I don’t really care if you are a “PWR KING” or a “GYM-MOM.” And, I probably can’t ever be friends with “OK2NVME” or “ICU H8N.” Sometimes, I almost run off the road because I am trying to figure out your little riddle, and sometimes I would like to let you see me roll my eyes at your “PMS 24-7” (which, by the way, is no laughing matter). I vote that if you cannot use proper grammar to express your feelings, you cannot buy a vanity plate.
- Riding my bumper like a cowboy on a bull will not make me go faster to accommodate you getting to your very important destination. Unless you are driving an ambulance or you are a police officer, I will probably slow down to 25 MPH and let you stew in your harried juices.
- If you have a cross decal or an Icthys fish on your rear window, you should probably practice the most courteous driving techniques. I’m pretty sure Jesus would not have used that finger, nor said that word I saw you mouth.
- If Visqueen™ and duct tape comprise four out of your six windows, I declare your vehicle to be un-streetworthy. Until July of this year in Mississippi, you had to get an annual vehicle inspection, and I always wondered how these people got away with driving a car similar to the one in “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” after the fire. My palms always got sweaty and my voice always got shaky every time I had to get a vehicle inspection…and all of my windows are intact.
- Sometimes people act like elementary school children in the water fountain line after recess. They will not let you over, even if you have your blinker on. These people are not fantastic. The only exception is if you know a lane is closed in one mile and you are trying to jump the line. Then, I will form a silent contract with the other cars around me, and none of us will let you in.
- Unless you are a grandmother in the Cadillac you have had since the ‘70s, there is no reason you should be going 45 MPH in the fast lane.
I have known many an upstanding citizen who—when it comes to driving—become evil froth-mouthed non-humans.
Why are we like that? When did this behavior begin?
I think it began when we decided we are more important than our neighbors. When our world became so small that we don’t notice that the reason the car is going slow in front of us is because the mom is trying to console a feverish toddler.
It began when we didn’t care that the person in the next car is angry because his wife just received a grim diagnosis, or the driver in the SUV following too close is on her way to her first job after leaving an abusive relationship.
That teenager that just cut us off? He just saw an Instagram photo making fun of him.
The lady who won’t let us over? She really couldn’t see us through her blurry tear-filled eyes because she doesn’t know how she is going to feed her children tonight.
I’ve been so focused on where I am going that I’ve forgotten to look around.
Maybe the reason why I’ve been experiencing road rage is because I’ve not seen the faces behind the steering wheels. I’ve not looked into the eyes of my brothers and sisters, and I’m sure I’ve not ridden a mile on their tires.
You know, on second thought, maybe “2L8IWUN” or “SWAGGA” aren’t so bad.
Perhaps, the Visqueen™ gal or the Icthys fish dude are actually pretty cool.
If I wasn’t so worried about arriving at my destination, I could notice the laughing couple behind me or the 5-year-old with dirty hands waving at me.
I have learned that true peace isn’t only found in a quiet grassy meadow; my soul can find rest amongst the chaos. I can choose clarity, even in an 8 a.m. traffic jam.
May we get back to seeing each other as a group of people all on this road of life together. May we recover our humanity, look around, and “LUV EVR1”