Last year I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions because I always immediately break them. Of course I didn’t remember making this resolution until I was in the car one day sitting in traffic and getting really steamed about all the rude people on the road. After someone cut me off and my daughter yelled out, “Watch where you’re goin’, you moron,” I realized that I might not be setting the best example for my children. I decided then that I was going to break my last New Year’s resolution and resolve to work on my road rage.
When I lived in New York City, I didn’t really have a problem with road rage. This was most likely due to the fact that I didn’t have a car. Once we moved to the suburbs, though, we got a car and I actually had to do quite a bit of driving. I s
oon learned that the suburbs are filled with bad drivers. And most of them, it seemed, w ere always right in front of me. Or behind me. Or cutting me off. Or stealing my parking space. My usual calm response to this was a few choice words, some fist-shaking, and an occasional, full-blown hissy fit.
Although I came by my road rage both genetically and geographically (us New York Jews are notoriously hostile drivers) I realized that I might live a little longer if I resolved to be a kinder, gentler driver. For a while, I was much better. When people cut me off, I would just smile and wave them on. If someone tailgated me, I would pull over and let them pass. When somebody else swooped in and stole the mall parking spot I’d been waiting for and there weren’t any other spots within a mile of the mall entrance, I just let her have it (the spot… I let her have the spot!).
The itty bitty old lady looked over at me, raised her hand in return…
And gave me the finger.