Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are you honkin' at me?

Dear girl in the silver sedan behind me at the In N' Out drive-thru,

I really don't know you, but I have to get this off my chest. You elicited a rare moment of anger in me today just by a simple act of rudeness. I know it is not entirely your fault. It seemed to me that you are quite young and on the cusp of adulthood; so may I, as one of your elders, proceed to give you a brief lesson in old fashioned civility.

So here was the setting: I was well aware that the line at In N' Out, just outside the parking lot of Walmart, at 5 pm on a Saturday night was not the most desired place to be. And I expected, as it did, to take 25 minutes of waiting before I could get my food and head back home. I went through all of this because I love my parents. And I love In N' Out...and I was hungry...but mostly because I love my parents and it was my last errand of the day. My previous errand was not a happy one, as I received some bad news as I looked at my bank account balance. Not too happy about it. You caught me at a very bad time. Nevertheless, I was keeping my cool about the whole drive-thru traffic issue. The line of cars inched forward and I held back a brief moment to let the customer in Jiffy Lube get out of their lot so they would not be trapped in by hungry fast food fanatics. It may not be known to some people outside of California, but the thought of In N' Out employs some weird mind control over hungry consumers that may make them totally oblivious to their surroundings as they focus on the sole thought of a Double-Double dripping with spread and caramelized onions. Perhaps you were under that same control. A nano-second after Jiffy Lube customer passed, you let out a few honks.
Were you about to hit me? Were you about to be car jacked? Was someone about to hit you? Did you pass out from hypoglycemia and hit your head on the steering wheel? I highly doubt it, as I saw you still bopping along with your friend and big smile on your face. May this be a lesson to you: Not only is unnecessary honking your horn rude, but it's dangerous also. It may startle a driver and either a. cause them to slam on their gas and hit the car in front of them, or b. give them a heart attack (a little exaggerated, but it could happen).
Anger is not something that happens much to me, but I think your impatience was the straw that almost broke the camels back. I actually did think about getting out of my car and confronting you personally (we were only nudging along every three or four minutes, I had time), but as quickly as my flash of boiled emotions came, they disappeared.

A while ago I heard the advice to treat everyone as if they were going through something traumatic in their life, and you would be right 50% of the time. I think if dealing with teenagers, you would be right 95% of the time. And while I don't consider my situation traumatic, you did just happen to be behind me during a bad moment of my day. And on the reverse, I could imagine that maybe you have only 6 hours left to live and, wanting your last meal on earth to be a double-double with animal style fries and a real-ice cream neopolitan shake, I would not blame you for being a little impatient. We all have our lives, our schedules, and our issues. Maybe we just need to give that benefit of the doubt to others who may annoy us or offend us. We haven't walked in their shoes, and I'm sure we wouldn't want to. And in the end, we will all get our food, head home, our fries will grow cold, and we will still enjoy it -- forgetting that long line and that extra 2 seconds of the car waiting ahead of us.

Your elder,

1 comment:

Mars Bell said...

Seriously, are you kidding me?! We're old enough to be considered "elders" now?!

Please excuse while I go cry.