Have you noticed that some people seem to be utterly unaware of what is going on around them? I don’t necessarily mean those folks who insist on being plugged in to some device 24/7; it seems as though lots of people are just in their own little worlds. Example: yesterday I counted six people who just wandered out in traffic or in busy parking lots without so much as looking left or right. Seriously–they Did. Not. Look. It was just sheer luck that none of those six were struck by an equally mentally absent person behind the wheel of an SUV. What are they thinking? I’ll tell you: not a damn thing.
The same goes for those on the roads who just weave willy-nilly in and out of traffic with no signal, no visible intent to pass, and most of all: just not looking. Parking lots have become a virtual suicide park as well. I wish I had a dime for every person I’ve noticed who backs their vehicle up without a look in their rearview mirror. To give them some credit, perhaps they have one of those nifty little TV-type screens in their cars that show them what’s behind them. But seriously–how hard is it to just look?
Also, gone are the days when you started backing out of a space and the person who drove up behind you waited for you to fully back up and go. Oh no–they drive right behind you and you take your chances. No one seems to have the patience to just wait a few seconds. And the attitudes–! When did everyone get so angry? I generally drive the speed limit wherever I go, and if someone really wants to get by me, I’ll pull over if I can. But if I can’t, and they finally roar by me, it’s inevitably with the oh-so-classy one-finger salute as they pass by. Although this both scares and angers me, I realize that it’s all about them and not me personally.
People in the main these days don’t seem to be able to wait for anything anymore, either. If they don’t get what they want when they want it (and of course, they want it RIGHT NOW), they are ten kinds of cranky about it. You’d expect that sort of behavior from toddlers, but not grown-up people. My guess is that humans are not getting the basic life skills taught them anymore, such as:
- How to calm yourself when things don’t go your way
- How to get along with others (again, I refer to the old faithful Golden Rule: “Do to others what you’d have done to you.”)
- How to be aware of your surroundings
- How to think ahead
- How to prepare yourself for life
- How to realize that you are not the center of the universe
- How to work out issues with others in a reasonable way
..and so on.
As our world becomes smaller and more crowded, we really need to work on changing our own behavior, which really is all we have control over. Trust me, I get just as aggravated as the next person when a traffic accident makes me late. However, in order not to go directly to the knee-jerk reaction of getting myself all riled up and ruining my day, I remember 9/11. There were so many accounts of people who should have been on one of the planes that crashed or in the Twin Towers that day, but for some reason were not. One woman’s little girl threw up in the car on the way to daycare, and they had to go back home and change her clothes. A man realized he had left his briefcase in a cab and missed his plane. Someone else had a flat tire and had to have it fixed, and the stories go on and on.
So these days when something or someone gets in my way of going on about my day, I think of those people who survived. I think that maybe there’s a reason why I can’t get where I need to go at that time–maybe I’m being kept safe by forces beyond my control. Who knows? All I do know is that I try to change my behavior to match who I want to be, and try my best not to let someone or something upset me.
What can I say? It’s a daily struggle, but worth it. And who knows–maybe one day I’ll be so late to work that I’ll decide to stop and buy a lottery ticket and win! Hey–it could happen! 🙂