For Lent, again this year, I did for myself, the little things that others often do for me. I wrote about that last year, no need to describe it today. Besides, Lent’s over – “honey, can you bring me more coffee?”
Having done that for more than a few years, I thought that I should do more. Set the bar higher. Try something new. I still liked the concept of adding something good as opposed to giving up something
bad not so good not as good for me as other things. I picked a thing. A very difficult thing. A solitary thing. I kept it to myself and I set out to prove to myself that I could do it.
I was going to be nice to drivers.
Not just any drivers.
You see, I’m already pretty nice to most drivers. I yield. I signal. OK, I don’t always signal when I’m the only person at an intersection, like my wife says I should; my father would have agreed with her. He would remind me of the invisible policeman, remember him? I keep up with the traffic in the lane I am in on the highway, and I let people merge, turn and exit in front of me. I am pretty nice to UPS, US Mail and FedEx drivers, anybody driving on a schedule really, and I am particularly cautious when passing people on bicycles. None of these were the target of my Lenten sacrifice.
I was going to be nice to drivers who don’t deserve anyone being nice to them. You know who I’m talking about. The special people who always seem to be in a hurry, who seem to need to be ahead of me. The people who ignore signs, lane markings and the other cars on the road. I was going to assume they had their reasons, and try to cut them some slack. I failed. Below is an “illustrated” guide to some of these failures:
Rt-2 to I-84W – Rt-2 is a 2-lane highway that expands to 4 or 5 lanes as it ends and merges with I-84. Most of the drivers get in their lane and move toward the exit. But, there’s always a few who run up in the wrong lane and try to nose in at the end of the road. I did not go out of my way to let these people in.
Median Jumpers – I get on the highway in the morning via a long ramp to a busy section of I-91S. I enter about half-a-mile before a major exit. The traffic I’m merging into is starting to congeal. Now and then, the guy behind me on the ramp tries to enter the highway via the median and pass me. I couldn’t bring myself to accommodate that behavior.
Faster than Fast – I often give up on I-84W. I head east instead, to I-291W, a.k.a. the next bridge across the river. I stay in the left lane of that two-lane highway because there is a very large interchange with lots of cars getting on and off, and I like to avoid the confusion. I keep my speed up, but I still get guys who want me to go faster. There’s nowhere to go; there are cars ahead of me. I’m keeping pace with them, but I’m leaving a safe distance. These guys want me to close that gap. Sorry, not happening. Eventually, they weave out, around and, sometimes, they make it back in.
Off-Ramp Racing – When I’m close to home, I take a fly-over ramp from I-91N to CT-20W. It’s a two lane ramp, but it’s a pretty tight curve that sharpens toward the end. Since it’s also the road to the airport, there are a lot of rental-car-returnees on that ramp. Maybe they’re late for a flight. Maybe they’re just special people visiting from a different state. All I know is that they often want me to go faster. I don’t. I’ve seen more than a few weave around me, only to find themselves in trouble at that sharper section.
I’m not sure why I thought I could be nice to these people. Being nice to them would be dangerous for me and others. I’ll wrap this post up with a link to an article from when I was 13 years old. I guess these special people have always been with us. This article shows why, maybe, helping them has never been a good idea.