Friday, August 25, 2006

Things are getting out of hand

Earlier this week I found myself thinking about the broad spectrum of human character. I wrote down some of those thoughts and planned to make them the subject of today’s blog entry. But then something else happened -– also character related -– that I decided to write about instead.

I was kind of shocked at something that occurred today while I was on the interstate, driving home for lunch. I was in the fast lane, driving a mile or two over the speed limit. The last time I’d looked in the rearview mirror, there was nothing behind me for at least half a mile, but this time I glanced up and saw an SUV approaching like a bat out of hell.

The reason I was in the left lane is that I was in the process of passing a string of slower vehicles to my right. As the SUV came speeding up behind me, I was watching for a safe opportunity to move back into the right lane. The SUV, unfortunately, couldn’t wait to see what I planned to do. Instead, he moved right up on my bumper, did a last-minute zig in between two closely spaced cars to pass me on the right, then a reckless zag back in front of me, just barely missing my right front fender.

That kind of driving scares the heck out of me, but it wasn’t shocking. What took me aback was what happened immediately afterward. All of a sudden, I found myself watching my 63-year-old left hand, entirely of its own volition, whip itself into the air and extend its middle finger skyward. Can you believe it?

I can count on the fingers of one hand the times in my life I’ve made that particular gesture, and most of those times it was done in a joking way. Why in the world would my hand make an ass of itself now, when I couldn’t back up such an aggressive gesture if my life depended on it?

Now, I’m pretty laid back, but I'm not pretending that I never have a mean or angry thought. Once in a while I do. I guess everybody does. Most of us, fortunately, have learned that life is much easier when we don’t act on every random thought that crosses our minds. It’s called “self-control,” and up until today I thought it was something I’d pretty much mastered.

So here I sit, thinking about character again. I’ve decided that I’m fairly comfortable with the content of my character overall, but there are some individual parts of me that need attention. Among other things, there are my feet and knees that have become increasingly uncooperative. Also my butt. The lazy thing parks itself in a chair at the slightest excuse. And now I’ll have to keep a close watch on this errant hand.


  1. yesterday, while coming home from school...I went by the bank and cashed a check. Well, then I turned back onto the busy street called Parkway that goes on to my house...nothing was in sight. A young chick drove up behind me at about 60 miles an hour. Then laid on the was doing something wrong. She got in the other lane and moved around me. A few blocks up...I was behind her again...she was slamming on her brakes as she nearly rear ended someone...As I drove by her, I just shock my head "oh, dear". I also noted her drivers license number for if she has done anything...I think I might have called the local police. i have taught most of them. I was tired and not really happy to be harrassed by a young chick breaking the law and then sounding her horn at me. It is harder to be Sweet Sister...when I am tired.

  2. Oh...I wish I'd been in the passenger seat...I'd have been cheering that errant hand of yours on! Carmon

  3. You go, Velvet! When I have encounters with jackasses like that on the road, I find myself sort of hoping they have an accident to teach them a lesson. Not that I intentionally want people to get hurt, mind you-just a little fender bender involving the police will be fine.

  4. Oh, my dear Velvet. Don't we all have our moments?

    I'm sure we have all questioned our character, at one time or another; but, I can honestly say, it takes something drastic to make the majority of us take drastic measures, or make drastic moves. That, I believe, only proves we are human.

    Uh - keep an eye on the finger!


  5. Tee hee.

    Welcome to my world. view is unnervingly like Janet's, I'm afraid.

  6. Sweet-Sister, I usually do the head-shaking thing, too. That's why it surprised me when I reacted with the one-finger salute.

    Carmon, if you'd been in the passenger seat, we'd have had to pull over and clean you up. That's how close this guy came!

    Janet and TC, I'm always AFRAID they're gonna get in an accident and that I'll plow right into the middle of it. A couple of times I've had the pleasure of seeing the highway patrol pull out after drivers like that, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    Priss, I agree with you, we all have our moments. Some people, in fact, have hours and days filled with those moments. I sure wouldn't want to be one of those, would you?

  7. velvet. i say let that finger fly all you want. self control is highly overrated in most cases. i think i saw a bumper sticker once that said something about stress being the what happens when you deny your body the right to choke the hell out of someone who deserves it. sometimes you gotta let it out. a finger is a safe way of doing so without getting charges pressed and that driver knew exactly what you meant by it.


    btw. sorry. i was in a hurry.

  8. i guess i will take the high road , since i don't have to go any where and if i do i am not in trafic . but i have read that in the cities road rage has relly increased and some people are getting shot.what i thought was funny about this MY SISTER SS3 CALLING SOME ONE A CHICK.

  9. A long time ago, when I lived in Florida, maybe 20 years or so, I was on the interstate, bumper to bumper traffic, someone was riding my behind so close - that I could not even see his car hood. I managed to get into another lane to get out of his way, but by that time, he has manuvered to the other lane and now I was blocking him from going ahead again - I looked over at him and said - with the facial expression too - HA - and waved my hand in the air - serves you right! Next thing I new, he had a gun pointed at me - I screamed and slammed on my brakes! It almost cause a 75 car pile-up, cars went skidding everywhere!! No-one got hurt or crashed - thank god! I never verbalized my frustration again! Although, I have wanted to many times over!

  10. Ghost, I'm all for stress relief, but I'm thinkin' someone who drives like an idiot may actually be one, and I don't want to provoke him.

    Patsy, road rage has definitely increased around here, especially with the rise in traffic caused by the large number of Katrina evacuees who are still here.

    Debi, what happened to you is exactly what I'm afraid of. Until actual bullets can shoot out the end of my middle finger, I don't intend to point it at anyone again.

  11. I know what you mean, you saw a part of yourself you didn't realize was there. Perhaps life's events just weighed in on you and you responded the way any stressed person would. recent events like the anniv of Katrina as well as your dog being sick can certainly cause a person to react in ways they usually wouldn't. I wouldn't stress over it too much, just count yourself among those who are lucky enough to still be shocked by their own behavior. Some don't know what is acceptable to them and what is not because they either are unruley or they follow the crowd. Good for you for knowing what is acceptable for you and what is not. It shows that your conscience still works. That 60-ish hand belongs to a body with a good head on its shoulders.



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