By Jim “Pappy” Moore
I declare. Is the entire country losing its mind? Tis the season to be jolly. Not mad! Choose happy. Everywhere you turn, there are angry people expressing their displeasure with others. Of course, maybe I’m just watching too many videos online.
There are people who videotape themselves using cellphone cameras as they confront people in a store parking lot who failed to return their shopping cart to one of the designated areas. They are angry and outraged, demanding that such person promptly put their cart into one of those parking lot receptacles for such. If the recalcitrant shopper declines, the vigilante places the shopping cart behind the person’s car so they cannot get out of the parking slot.
I always put my cart into one of those stations, just like everyone should. But when we say “everyone,” most of us recognize there are exceptions. What of the little old lady who has arthritis and can’t get around all that well? What of the mother who has two young kids in her car and doesn’t want to (and shouldn’t) leave them alone in the car in a parking lot while she returns to cart? What of the old timer who has COPD from breathing too much agent orange in Vietnam? You see, you just don’t know what ailments or other concerns a person might have.
I have another way. If I see someone finishing up their unloading of a cart at their car, I walk right up and say “why don’t you let me take that back to the rack for you?” They’re always thankful and gracious. Now, isn’t that better than chiding them for not taking it back? Doesn’t that get a good result? And aren’t we better people when we help and presume the best of others?
There are other folks who have a dash board camera in their vehicle to video everything that happens in front of their car or truck. This can be a good thing, but there’s a lot of angry invectives such drivers often have for anyone who does not yield to them as they drive. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes a person cuts it too close or otherwise fails to allow sufficient room. But are we better served by running into them while shouting “it’s your fault”?
Isn’t driving friendly, driving safely, driving defensively so much better? Let the air out of all that anger waiting for a place to happen. I never drive that I don’t yield to someone that I had the legal right of way over. It’s life on the usual. People have places to go. They don’t always know where they’re turning exactly, or when. They might not realize they need over into your lane until the last second. Can’t we just give up a few seconds to let others drive smoothly and safely into their next turn?
No matter where you go or who you are, there will be people who are rude, who don’t plan well, who wait too late to do something, who want to barge in ahead. Let them go. Life has a way of biting people in the rear end who do such things, but it doesn’t have to be you.
If you get some angry customer in front of you bellowing at the cashier, you can wait until they leave and say “I’m sorry you had to put up with that!” You can be the one to smooth things over, to let that weary worker know you are on their side.
So much of life is what we make of it. We can decide to be pleasant or we can let ourselves get riled at the smallest of things. Here’s a good example: You’re driving, and you’re in a hurry to get somewhere. A driver is slowing you down. Realize if you leave ten minutes earlier to where you’re headed, you can let yourself have that extra time to be cool, to not get excited about some knucklehead who can’t get it together. Take a deep breath. Mutter something to yourself like “moron,” and get on down the road.
Being mad is mostly a choice. Don’t choose it.
Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.