I blame London for my road rage. In a city where drivers fight for that extra inch of road for the precious seconds of time saved or small advantage gained, it’s not uncommon to witness shouting matches or listen to symphonies of blaring horns. And in a country where firearms are banned, one can feel reasonably certain that a driver will not pull out a gun in retaliation to a two-finger salute (palm inwards), the British equivalent of flipping the bird. Now that I’m in California, I need to be careful about expressing road rage – a crazy driver just might have a gun stashed in his glove box!
I was about to continue my tirade about my experience with Bay Area drivers and how they sustain and feed my road rage problem, but I changed my mind because of a few small but curious events occurring on a particular morning, right before and during my jog.
Laced up and ready, I was about to start my warm-up routine on an unusually humid morning in the North Bay Area when I noticed a piece of paper tucked under the windshield wiper of my vehicle. On the rain-soaked notebook page, a message written in ballpoint pen read: “Attention! Do not Park Here, It’s A Reserved Spot, You Will be Towed!!” Slightly irritated, I moved the vehicle to another spot. Then, I finished my warm-up and proceeded with my run.
On long, early-morning jogs without the Bethypoo-jogging-stroller combo, I enjoy concentrating on the cadence of my heels striking the surface. These 45-60 minutes of mental peace helps me to think clearly, allowing me to either plan the day’s activities with Bethypoo, or brainstorm on other matters, distraction-free. During this morning run, as I was riling myself up about my latest road rage episode from the previous weekend and making mental notes of bad-driving peeves, I was startled by an elderly man, cane in hand, with a golden retriever by his side. “Good Morning!” He greeted. “It must be nice to feel healthy and strong, and be able to go out for a morning run. But, no matter what, it’s hard not to enjoy this beautiful morning with her.” With his cane, he pointed at his dog.
“Good Morning to you as well sir,” I responded with a wave. The old man was wearing a baseball cap displaying his military veteran status. His golden retriever was staring at me, wagging her tail wildly with tongue hanging out.
Suddenly, a tinge of guilt hit me. Yes, it actually does feel pretty good to go out for a run, especially on this cool morning with a comfortable breeze. Yes, I am thankful for being healthy enough to do so. And here I was, concentrating on a stupid, petty list of road rage peeves and getting myself worked up for nothing.
A few more miles later, another wave of guilt passed over me. I realized how glad I was that my vehicle wasn’t towed. The owner of the parking spot, rather than alerting security to have my vehicle removed, instead was kind enough to take the time to scribble a note and place it under my windshield wiper as a simple warning. This thoughtful act saved me at least $250 in impoundment fees, as well as several hours of time wasted to retrieve the vehicle. Yet at the time when I discovered the note, I was dismissive of the consideration behind it.
Some people may believe in divine intervention, whether direct or indirect. And of these people, maybe a few recognize only the obvious miracles that happen in life, such as a sudden cure to a health issue or a close call with a potentially fatal accident.
I couldn’t ignore these two small, random events. Had another car been in my own spot, I would’ve requested security to have it towed immediately without any thought to the owner, and not bother with leaving a note on the windshield. And while an old man with a cane can find simple happiness in being out on a morning walk with his dog, there I was, wasting energy and thoughts on relatively petty issues such as road rage.
For the rest of the morning jog, rather than thinking about negative things, I instead concentrated on a new goal of acquiring more patience and focusing only on the positive. I believe this will help temper my road rage (as well as other flaws relating to impatience), and may also help me deal with a growing, maturing daughter, hopefully setting a good example for her to follow. Yes, this little post may seem so trite, but I am still amazed that it took these two events on an otherwise uneventful morning for me to finally open my eyes! It’s a miracle!
Later that afternoon, while in the car listening to San Francisco’s talk radio station 910 AM, the radio host began a short rant on bad drivers – those not signaling for a lane change, driving too slow in the fast lane, among others – and I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. Rather than screaming at the radio in agreement, I shut it off and focused on the road ahead.