Maggie’s Musings: Road Rage

Featured in Oct. 31, 2019 issue of the Arka Tech

The tan sedan slices in front of my tiny, shiny Honda, narrowly missing my front bumper. My face flushes and my immediate reaction is to slam my fist into my horn. What a piece of cud! I begin internally (and often externally) yelling and begin making assumptions about the driver based on the past ten seconds I’ve encountered with them. I think part of why I allow myself to do this is because I don’t usually see the person driving the car and I begin to personify the car; that’s who I’m mad at, not the person.

Despite quickly jumping to these conclusions about the driver’s persona, I really have no idea who they are or what they’re like. I want to start trying to not make snap judgments about people, whether that’s the car that cut me off, a person that looked at me oddly, or that one needy customer that finds the smallest details to complain about. Truthfully, we really have no idea what one person may be going through. Maybe they’re rushing their pregnant wife to the hospital and that’s the reason for their erratic driving. That person who you thought answered you rudely might be in a fight with their parents or is just having a rough day.

While my basic human instinct to conflict is often impatience, anger, or discomfort (or some combination of the three), my goal is to channel these negative outbursts into more positive actions. This could mean something as simple as bottling up the string of negative words I’d usually allow to escape or not taking my emotions out on another person (whether they were the cause of my anger or not). Either way, by not being so quick to let a situation alter my outlook or reaction, I can hopefully eventually teach myself to be more patient and be more positive when interacting with other people and on my own as well.