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A Driving Sense of Frustration with Bullies June 10, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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It may be just the workload and lack of adequate rest.  But I find myself increasingly irritated with selfish people.  Is that evidence of my own selfishness?  

Today, a certain nondescript blue car was on its’ daily trek to the morning job, to be followed by the night job.  On the journey the driver observed the traffic flow.  As the lights turned red for other traffic, to turn green for the driver, the cars which should have been stopping to allow the blue car to cross intersections disregarded the signal and proceed unimpeded.  This has been happening more and more.  The driver of the blue car, with a devil-may-care nonchalance, put foot to accelerator and gently asserted his right-of-way with a salutatory greeting with the horn, not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times at different intersections.  This was somewhat dangerous as the other cars continued approaching with their own “damn the rules, I’m taking my turn now!” attitude. The blue car somehow managed to arrive without incident at its’ destination. 

OK, I confess. In the blue car, the driver was me.  So if I honked at you it meant I felt that it was my turn in the queue and you were taking it away.  Stop it.  I thought this was elementary high school drivers education material but some people have forgotten basic rules, etiquette, courtesies. When the light is red, stop.  When the light is green, go if you can safely proceed, but don’t block the intersection if it might be red for you before you clear it.

Why don’t we take turns and play fair?  I don’t assert myself often as a driver, because 1) I don’t need the hassle of an accident and car repairs or car shopping or 2) the time missed being late for work while filling out a police report and taking the other driver to court.  I live in a town where the predominant driving strategy is “share the road – me first!”  I wish it were not so, but it is.  We’re all so genteel with one another in social gatherings, but the old “Mr Walker” and “Mr Wheeler” cartoon is all too true, and not very funny in real life.

I love the old Will Smith movie “Hancock.”  He’s a superhero with issues.  We’re not told why, but he’s a broken superhero, a drunken derelict without a clear mission.  He helps, but people think he’s a screw-up.  Take away the excess alcohol, take away the super powers, and he’s me.  He wants people to be nice, get along, play fair, take turns.  He wants people to stop getting themselves into problems because they’re selfish and overly assertive about it.  He wants bullies to stop being mean.  And he wants to be left alone.

In the place of alcohol, substitute caffeine.  I still feel like a screw-up.  Maybe I cover it well enough behind the suit and the polished “phone-guy” voice.  But with insufficient caffeine, just leave me alone.  Don’t insult me and belittle and bully me, or there’s going to be a horn, or an accident, and it’s going to be your fault.  In the schools, leave my kids alone.  In the morning, or afternoon commutes to my jobs, leave me alone and let me take my turn when it’s my turn.  In my jobs, pay me fairly and leave me alone so I can get the job done.  At the store, the gas station and the repair shop especially, don’t over charge me for your products or services.  

Why do bullies do this?  Because they can have power over others, because they can go first, because they’re smug, self-satisfied arrogant [deleted]s with a sense of their own personal entitlement and a complete disregard for anyone else.  Because we let them. And many times, because they’re fairly anonymous getting away with it.

By way of a silly example, the men’s bathroom at work needs a nut.  I hear the jokes already, stop it (but I’m laughing at it, too).  The toilet seat needs a nut for the bolt that holds it in place.  It’s fine without it, if one sits gently, but it will move a little if one doesn’t.  Some passive-aggressive individual continually takes the time to dismantle the whole assembly and render it not use-able by everyone else.  I swear I have put this thing back together, to the best of my ability without an extra nut, several times.  I just want to go to the bathroom without having to rebuild the essential structure every time.  I just want to get to work and take my turn without having to wait for people to clear what is supposed to now be my right of way.

Note to bullies, you know who you are:

Image

Why do we put up with bullies?  Because we’re afraid.  We’re afraid if we don’t give them our lunch money they will beat us up on the playground.  The bullies grow up having never learned how to not be a bully, and they either start robbing banks or destroying other people’s properties or investments, or lying on their resumes to get the higher paid positions, or they are the more passive aggressive types in the bathrooms and in their cars and in high-finance departments.  When bullying, they are showing off their true personalities, which look a lot like what everyone shows in the bathroom.  We’re afraid that if we don’t let them take cuts, and give them our place in traffic they will hit our cars.  We’re afraid.  It’s possible I haven’t had enough caffeine.  It’s possible I just don’t have enough loving patience.  But I’m tired.

I’m tired of bullies everywhere, and the problem is, they are everywhere.

 

the image comes from http://www.film.com/photos/will-smith/attachment/hancock-film-still-john-hancock-will-smith-train-destroyed-2 – I am using it under fair use convention.  No copyright infringement is intended.

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