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Insight To Chaos

Adventures Through La La Land…

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Dec '10


So there I was, driving home after a truly lovely evening. Turning onto my street, Mom and I were in the midst of one of our notorious reflective conversations. I look up ahead and I can almost make out a dark figure crossing the street in front of me. I slow down to give him plenty of time to pass. He slows down then stops, and then starts his saunter again. As I pass him going 20mph, my headlight catches the discordant look on his face and then his middle finger. He yells at me to “slow the fuck down.”

I snapped.

I started to move on, then I slammed on the breaks. I had sudden and competing urges to let it go and walk away as well as put my car in park and confront him. I wanted to get out of the car, but my better judgment compromised by rolling down the window and yelling back. I told him I was only going 20 miles an hour, perhaps he should light himself up better if he’s going to stop in the middle of a dark street like that. He yelled back that I should watch where I’m going and slow the fuck down. Before driving off, I wished him a Merry Christmas, though more in a tone suggesting that he fuck himself with sprigs of mistletoe.

I wanted to get out of the car. I wanted to stand right in front of him and ask him to look me in the eye and tell me exactly how I had offended him so dearly. If for nothing else than to remind him that I am just as human as he is, and neither of us deserve such negativity. The only reason there are so many assholes on the road is that we all treat each other like we’re all assholes. Acknowledging the behavior only enforces it. Instead, I sat in my car and yelled back. I didn’t get out of the car, but I didn’t move on either. I made two jerks out of the situation.

Driving home, I felt like a coward and a hypocrite.

I should not have done that, I thought. I should have kept driving and let it go. I didn’t deserve his attitude, but that didn’t matter. Whether it was warranted or not, I had a choice to accept or reject his negative attitude and I chose poorly. I wish I could say I rejected it. My ego and my conscience reacted simultaneously and my ego won out.

Where is the line between standing up for yourself and accommodating bad behavior by responding in kind? For what reasons should I be so prideful that there might even be a need to stand up for myself? Am I so self-important that I should require defense even for issues that are not about me?

Sometimes, I become so quickly overwhelmed with feeling that, although my rational mind is reminding me of the bigger picture, I am already bursting with short-sided reaction. And I scare myself.

I am not my ego. I have no need for self-centered pride. I am one among many. This is water.

1 Comment »

1 Comment » to “Livewire.”

  1. Tim Howe Says:

    Two comments:

    Decide what is really important to you, and…

    Pick[choose] the fights that are worth fighting.

    You had seconds to decide. History decides the outcome.


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