If you read my last post, you know that I don’t exactly have a great relationship with my feelings. My emotions are like small children who don’t want to get dressed and go to church. They just want to stay home and watch netflix in their pajamas. My rational mind is the harried mom trying to get them out of the house. But, as I’ve come to realize, if you continuously try to put a pretty dress on anger and call it happiness, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The anger will leak out. And for me, it leaks out in the form of wholly out sized reactions to people being discourteous/not following the rules in public.
One day, on my drive home from work, I was waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street before I turned right. Someone honked behind me, seemingly chastising me for not killing the person crossing the street. So, because I hadn’t let the “kids” stay home and watch tv in a while, they revolted by flipping off the honker. The pedestrian completed his journey across the road and I made the turn. At the next light, I was surprised, but as you’ll see, not unprepared, when the honker showed up at my car window and motioned for me to unroll it. Because I’m always overcome by completely unwarranted and let’s just say it, dangerous courage at times like these, I unrolled the window. I think the guy knew who he was dealing with as soon as I turned my face towards his. It was the face of a small child who has been denied netflix. You could tell he was all ready to let me have it but instead, after seeing my face, he just mumbled, “you flipped me off, you didn’t have to flip me off.” At that moment, the light turned green and the other drivers at the intersection started honking at the guy who had basically parked his car in the middle of the road after getting his feelings hurt by a finger. And I simply said, pragmatically, “get back in your car” and then rolled up my window.
I tell this story now with a mixture of awe, pride and fear. A friend of mine who has heard this tale a million times describes moments when she stands up for herself as “get back in your car” moments. And I suppose I should be proud of myself. But I’m also afraid of my brazen courage. I live in Philadelphia; I should not be unrolling my window for strangers in the middle of traffic. But I have a feeling that if faced with another pathetic, whinging stranger at my window, I’d unroll the window and tell them where to go.