Monday, October 1, 2012

Road Rage - Another Name For Bad Manners

A few days ago, after checking first, to make sure I wasn't being followed closely enough to  be rear-ended, I slowed to stop for a pedestrian at an unmarked crossing, and when he looked at me to make sure that's what I was doing, I waved him on. He was young, in his early twenties at the most, and when he smiled, gave a wave of thanks, and stepped off jauntily to cross the four lanes of traffic, a shattering blast of horn broke out behind me. He froze in front of my car - he knew that I, at least, knew he was there and wouldn't mow him down.

A look in my rearview mirror, and I saw the man in the large pickup behind me, wave his arms in that gesture meaning, "What are you doing!"

I pointed to the pedestrian, wondering if the driver hadn't seen him, and was thinking I'd stopped at the end of the block for no real reason.

His response was to punch the fist of one hand, violently into the palm of the other, face suffused with rage.

I thought of the phrase I use as a meditative tool: "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace." and not knowing I was about to do so, blew the enraged driver a kiss.

Rather than respond with increased fury, the driver's rage seemed to deflate; he changed lanes and dropped back. It was as though he'd lost interest in that which had so infuriated him just a moment before.

I thought of myself, so angry at everything when I came into this program, so completely unable to see my own part in the troubles of my life, so desperately longing for connection and a sense of love, and yet unable to attain it, becauce first, I had to understand that if I wish to have a friend, I must be one. If I wish love, I need to behave in a way that does not alienate and hurt the people in my life.
We none of us live in a vacuum, but so many of us newly in, are self-absorbed to the point we are unable to recognise the pain that we have called. We rationalise all of that.

Step 4, we stop with the game-playing and the blaming. We accept that each of us has human frailty, and admit that we have done some harm ourselves.


  1. I don't know what it is that makes so many people angry and hateful. Society seems to be filled with raging individuals. I'm glad that your response was what it was. And what is so important that the fellow could not have waited a few seconds for the pedestrian to cross. Shaking my head in wonder......

  2. Thank you for that.

    I could especially relate to the love part. Growing up my alcoholic father never had any healthy relationships with his partners. As his son, I was along for the ride.

    I grew up hating women and relationships, not thinking I was worthy or having a woman love me because none ever have. Through the program I am slowly learning to open my heart and through a connection with my hp, I know there is a plan.

  3. Thank you so much for that post. What a wonderful way to respond to road rage. My thought in the past before Al-Anon were to consider acting like Madea in a Tyler Perry movie and backing into the beastly driver behind me! Yes. Your way is better. Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. . . everywhere in life.