This guy, he had no idea how close he was to getting the front of a Pontiac up under the bumper of his Jeep and run off the road. He had no idea how close he was to seeing a spectacle of maroon fury as this travel weary chica was about to pass someone by use of the ditch. He had no idea how lucky he was that our pastor had used the example of road rage in a sermon a couple of weeks ago and so I was trying to tame the beast. One of my biggest displays of the anger problem that lurks beneath my friendly surface, road rage.
It is the worst in the summer as that is when the “c” word starts coming out. You know what I mean. The shudder you feel when you see that orange sign with those black letters, “Construction Ahead”. I try to be a pretty courteous and smart driver, unfortunately that makes me very upset at those that I do not believe are behaving likewise.
I always thought that that was the worst feeling in the world was being the car stuck in the right lane as those in the left lane fly by, only to merge over a foot before their lane closed. I was wrong, there is a worse feeling. I was on my way home from my road trip, having already driven somewhere around 24 hours, and I had about 20 more to go. Grand Rapids, MI my point A and Pella, IA my point B, for this eight hour leg of the journey at least. I was only a half hour out of the city when I hit dreaded stop and go traffic. There was not even a construction sign in sight, I knew this was going to take a while.
I was in the left lane, and both of the lanes were going slow, the right lane only slightly more so. A half hour passed, I was only inching forward. Then, I finally saw it “Left Lane Closed 2 Miles Ahead”. I hate being the jerk that waits in the left lane until the end, but I had two miles to go and I was barely passing anyone in the right lane anyway. I told myself that I would wait a mile and then try to merge over.
Plus, I like to do this rolling thing. Whenever I get the chance, and the other drivers cooperate, I break free of the “stop and go” headache and I just roll at about 10 mph. I would catch up to the car ahead of me while they were stopped and then they would rush forward at 30 mph or more leaving a nice gap for me to keep rolling in. I hadn’t touched a pedal in about 10 minutes. The right lane, knowing that the left was going to close, wasn’t pulling in to take advantage of the space like they do when I try this around larger cities.
I was a little way past the 2 mile ’til sign when a right lane car finally took advantage of the space left in front of me. I waited for him to dash forward and be the driver who is just trying to gain as much distance as possible, but he didn’t. I soon realized that he was sick of the left lane slowly passing the cars in the right, stopping the left lane from passing anymore. He matched the right lane gas for gas and break for break. I watched as the space between him and the other cars in the left lane increased, 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards, and finally the road became too curvy and I could no longer see the other cars in the left lane.
I was furious. I possibly started foaming at the mouth. How dare he! Doesn’t he know that I have eight more hours to go before I can stop for the day? Who does he think he is? The savior of the right lane? I contemplated the shoulder, but my hubby’s Pontiac was too wide, I would have to put the left side in the ditch and his low clearance scared me. If I was only in my Jeep, I muttered to myself, I would pass him in the ditch. Instead I settled for almost kissing his back bumper with my front every time he stopped alongside the right lane. I made sure he could see me in his side mirror, and I glared.
When we finally got through the construction and where set free on both lanes I caught up to this self-righteous Jeep driver and contemplated boxing him in for the next hundred or so miles. Playing some cat and mouse, or whatever else it took to ruin his day as well. Unfortunately, he was driving too slow and I had many miles to make up.
I have this road rage feeling during everyday life as well. If someone’s life seems to be going better, the journey smoother, the destination reached faster, then I feel that it somehow belittle’s my life and my journey. I am just stuck in the right lane. I am worth less.
Sometimes I am the jerk who pulls over only to slow every one else down. Instead of being happy at a friend’s wedding, I refuse to give any compliments as my wedding was better and everyone should be aware of that. For some reason I believe that the beauty of this wedding somehow diminishes mine.
When someone finds their dream job, I only talk about the negative aspects it brings. For some reason I fear that their joy and success will crowd out mine and somehow make it less.
If they are beautiful, it means that I am not. If they have an amazing vacation, it means that mine was less special. If they completed a marathon it means that my 10k is pathetic. If someone mentions that so-and-so is such an expiring Christian, I soon believe that I am only at pathetic pagan level.
Somehow, I started believing this idea that there can only be one winner, in everything. I started to believe that someone else’s successes can only mean that I can not succeed.
I need to start seeing as God sees. Their beauty does not mean that I am flawed. Their inspiring Christian life does not mean that I am living a lesser journey. Joy is not a contest. I can have joy in my experiences while others have joy in theirs, and we should have joy in each other.
The race of life. I have to stop trying to beat others, and just focus on my own personal best.