Not that Kind of Push Over

Thursday, December 5, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

I have written previously about the bumper sticker on my car that reads BE KIND in all blue capital letters.  Specifically, I focused on creating the addictive internet game of figuring out your Carsona (trademarked).

My awareness of the kind message on my car's rear end has led me to the conclusion that people are regularly confusing kindness with being a pushover.  It's as if other drivers believe that being kind implies some sort of emotional retreat at the first sign of conflict.  'Kind' doesn't mean conflict averse.  Kindness is a baseline from which to start your interactions.  If, after that initial moment of introduction (vehicular or otherwise), you realize that you are interacting with someone who is not looking out for your best interests, kindness does not require you allow them to walk all over you.

There are, of course, many instances when projecting kindness at someone who isn't in a place to reciprocate is the most gratifying.  Offhand I can think of many times when allowing a grumpy mother the benefit of the doubt in a grocery line has been a relatively small concession compared to the significant improvement in the mom's attitude.  Hell, behind the bar, killing people with kindness is almost a way of life.  If you can't downshift customers' vitriol into hugs and slush-puppies you are bound to have a few cacophonous dustups before too long.  "How HORRIBLE that a fly would dare make its way into your beverage!," I exclaim whilst simultaneous rolling the eyes I keep hidden under the brim of my hat so hard that, for a second, I worry they may roll all the way around.  It's still kindness even if you're angry inside.  Come to think of it, it's kindness especially when you're angry inside!

About a week ago I was driving home down the main street that runs through the center of our town.  As I was pulling through the large, 4-way intersection, I heard the not so subtle tune of an ambulance siren turning on somewhere behind me.  Checking my rearview, I saw the flashing vehicle approaching, still about a quarter-mile away.  As the siren grew louder, and the lights became more apparent, I began to pull my car over to the right shoulder.  This is Driving 101.  If an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and horns ablazing, you pull the hell over to let them pass.

Apparently Mrs. Thang (40 yrs. old, White, on her cell phone) never took Driver's Ed.  Because Mrs. Thang decided that my obvious concession to the ambulance made for the perfect opportunity for her to pass me in her black Toyota Highlander.  With only one small hesitation she depressed the gas and pulled up beside me.  As the ambulance came up behind her, she had now placed herself directly in the middle of the lane, necessitating an evasive maneuver.  She swerved right, effectively boxing in my car and giving the passing emergency vehicle the very minimum amount of room to pass.

"That brown car came out of NOWHERE!"
I will readily admit that cool calm Mattitiyahu went ballistic. For whatever reason this brazen lack of rule following and selfish driving behavior simultaneously broke too many social norms for my late day brain to reconcile.  When Mrs. Thang finally scooted her ass forward a smidge, it moved her monstrous car more fully onto the right shoulder.  I used this opportunity to immediately pull out and around to the driver side of her vehicle.  Now, ever so briefly, I came face-to-face with this future vehicular man slaughterer.  I looked right into her cold dead eyes and clearly articulate, "WHAT THE FUCK!," while not actually making any noise.

Clearly panicked by this confrontation regarding both her lack of driving skills and ability to survive as a human being, she gunned her engine, propelling her car back in front of mine.  I am not ashamed to say that I rode her tail all the way home.  Cause sometimes even kindness has to take a backseat to some good old fashion road rage.

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