Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Road Rage

Yesterday on the way home from work, I witnessed an act of road rage. I was stopped at a red light and heard a loud, continuous honk coming from two lanes over on my left (in the turn lane). What I assume happened is that a guy driving a nice car pulled out of a parking lot into the turn lane and might have cut off a guy who was driving his car already in the turn lane.

I'm not sure if the first guy was truly in the wrong, since I didn't see that part, but the second guy sure thought he had been wronged! He showed his displeasure with his car horn and with a hand gesture. About the time that I noticed what was happening, the guy in the first car got out of his car and the guy in the second car also got out and they stood facing each other out on the road. I don't think it went anywhere worse than that, but I'm hoping that the light turning green put a stop to anything getting out of hand. I had to move on with the traffic, but it got me thinking about what road rage is.

I have to confess that I may not use hand gestures and don't usually even use my horn, but I can get mad at other drivers at the drop of a hat. In fact, I even get mad at people when I'm trying to do something "nice" for them, like let them into traffic. If the other driver is trying to get into my lane and I allow a gap or even slow down, but then the driver isn't paying attention or isn't acting fast enough, it makes me so irritated. So it's really a "nice" form of road rage.

So, back to my thoughts about what road rage is:  I think at the root of road rage is the emotion of being mad that I'm not getting what I want at that moment or that I'm feeling "wronged." It's also a feeling of being out of control of the situation. Pretty self-centered and self-placating. Looking out for number one, so to speak.

Maybe one reason I sometimes feel justified in getting mad at people in the "privacy" of my own car is that it's one area of my life that I can actually express my displeasure at not getting what I want. Sure, people can probably see me talking in an animated way, but they can't hear me and they don't get a chance to respond (that's probably a good thing for me).

None of us always gets what we want. We learn this from a young age, if we have loving parents who teach us about delayed gratification. We also learn this from our loving, sovereign Father God, who knows better than we do what we need and what is best for us. I'm still learning not to get so mad when I don't get my way, but I'm thankful that my God is merciful and gentle and doesn't mind me asking questions a lot of the time.

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