Try a Little Tenderness

writer x

world peasThis one annoys me and breaks my heart at the same time and it happened again yesterday when I came home from the gym.

I’m driving down a major four-lane road near my house. The car in front of me (an American sedan, I think) is traveling a few miles underneath the speed limit in the left lane. No big deal. Another car (a smaller one with lots of bumper stickers) wedges between me and the sedan and then starts honking at the sedan like it’s an ambulance transporting a heart attack patient.

All three of us come to a stoplight, naturally. That’s because in Phoenix there’s a stoplight every 100 yards. The instant the light turns green, the sedan hesitates a second before moving forward so the smaller car with the funky bumper stickers beeps again.

Beep beep!

Then the guy in the smaller car starts cursing at the sedan, lifting his hands in the air like he can’t believe what he’s seeing. There may have even been an unoriginal middle finger in all the gesturing. The poor lady driving the sedan gets all flustered.

Now I’m mad. At Bumper Sticker Guy who actually has one of those dorky stickers that says Visualize World Peas on his rear window. Why? Because the person driving the sedan in front of him has blue-grey hair and she’s probably around 80 years old.

Come on. Give an old lady a break. That could be your mother or your grandmother. Would you feel good about people beeping at her? Or your father? Or your grandfather? Or maybe that old uncle that always comes around on the holidays? She didn’t do anything wrong. The lady just wasn’t moving at light speed like the rest of us. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be driving.

Beeping at old people in cars is so not cool. And by old I mean anyone with a full head of blue or grey hair who barely sits above the steering wheel. Prematurely grey à la Anderson Cooper doesn’t count. None of us are that busy or important that we can’t show an older person a little kindness, a little patience on the road, in the store, at the park—anywhere.

And don’t forget that will most assuredly be you in 20, 30, 40 years, hunched over your steering wheel. You’ll be walking a little slower and driving your huge car a tad more gingerly.

Word of advice to Bumper Sticker Guy out there driving the small silver two-door: Chill. And change out your bumper stickers already. It’s like you’re stuck in a time warp.

::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::

October 30, 2009 4:20 pm

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