Yesterday, I had something happen to me that really scared me, and really got me thinking. I was driving home from work headed to the gym. Our old governor had installed speed cameras on the freeways, and since then everyone drives 10 miles under the limit, so I was trying to get around some people, and when I moved over I cut off a truck (I DID NOT see this guy, I don't go around cutting people off for fun). So this guy honks and proceeds to tailgate me all the way to the gym. I pull into my parking spot and he stops his truck behind me so even if I wanted to I couldn't get out. He comes to my window. I decided when he continued following me off the highway that I was going to play dumb and just apologize, because I really didn't mean to do it, and wouldn't have moved over if I knew he was there. The conversation goes something like this:
Guy: You cut me off back there.
Me: Did I? I'm really sorry. I didn't see you.
Guy: You didn't see me? I laid on my horn. You've got kids in the backseat.
Me: Look, I'm sorry. I didn't see you. I've got this . . . (intending to say something about my carseat and my blind spot, which is really big)
Guy: Yeah, you've got that. You almost took my front bumper off, then you're weaving all over like a moron.
Me: (I'm getting irritated now) I didn't see you. I'm sorry, now if you'll excuse me. (And I roll up my window.)
Guy: You should apologize to the kid.
Me: (very sarcastic) You know what, I will.
And that was it, he walked away. It's not saying much for him that he followed me for a good 5 miles or so, probably going out of his way, just because I cut him off. And he had someone in the car with him that looked like a young person - maybe a teenager, maybe early twenties or so, female. That says a lot about him by doing that in front of what could have been his child. Anyway, I go into the gym and have John come outside with me (he was already working out). I'm shaking like crazy and almost crying because I'm totally freaked out. I told him what happened and he gets pissed. My anger hit me later on. He wishes he would have been outside when it happened, and I do too. John is much bigger than this guy was. But it's probably better that he wasn't. Of course, I am not the best on my feet, and am now constantly thinking of things that I could have said to him. Most of them are smart-ass remarks, so it's definitely better that I didn't say anything to provoke him.
It also got me thinking about other things, especially about the world in general. I'm not going into some deep philosophical thing, but it just makes me wonder if we're allowed to make mistakes anymore. Seriously. People mess up. It's not intentional. Why do we have to get so upset by it? Just let it go. Don't live your life all hopped up on anger. I used to be the kind that would get so mad when someone did that to me, but now I stop and take a breath and just let it go. I am a much calmer and happier person for it.
This is just another reason why we want to get out of Arizona. I know that this could happen anywhere, but it seems like the people here are just much more unfriendly and rude, both on the road and off. I've thought that almost since the moment I moved here.
So the moral of this story is this: If someone makes a mistake or upsets you, stop. Take a breath and try to see where they were coming from. Maybe they really didn't mean to.