For over two decades, I was a silent vigilante. An anonymous protector and defender of the rules which govern society. I didn’t have a cape or superhuman powers. I didn’t have a sidekick. However, I had a special ability that most people didn’t have.
I prevented drivers in the right-hand lane from getting in front of me in the left lane when it came time to merge.
It didn’t matter if it was a beat up Dodge minivan full of kids or a convertible Mustang with three gorgeous, women in bikini tops with hair blowing in the warm breeze*, I was first in line, everyone else got behind me. Including big trucks and semi-trailers.
You see, back when I studied my tail off to pass the written portion of my driver’s test, I really locked in on the rules of the road. Rules that state that cars needing to merge must yield to vehicles in the other lane and wait until adequate space is available until executing a successful lane merge. Nowhere in the rule book did it say drivers can turn on their blinker and merge in front of an upcoming vehicle, essentially making it the other driver’s problem to allow them in. Gradually over time, the injustice brought on by insensitive or oblivious drivers formed my anti-hero persona behind the wheel. I saw so much lawlessness and vehicular anarchy that I took matters into my own hands with my car. And I fought the forces of evil behind the wheel.
It was a dark time for society. And for me. But something happened to me recently that made me question my allegiance to this aggressive club.
I took a step back from my anger at insensitive drivers and looked at the bigger picture. I started to evaluate how much time I lost on my own drive time with those cars cutting me off in traffic. What I eventually realized was those drivers weren’t slowing me down from my original estimated time of arrival to my destination. Those drivers weren’t creating a dangerous situation where I might rear-end them. In fact, I had actually gotten good at predicting when they would signal to merge in front of me, so I proactively eased up on my accelerator, allowing enough distance for them to safely merge in front of me.
I often hold the door open for others when entering a store, so why couldn’t I “hold the door” for drivers to go ahead of me?
It took an extended period of time with a dedicated mindset to override my knee-jerk anger at other drivers going ahead of me. I quietly moved along with the traffic stream instead of being the boulder in the stream that the water has to flow around. And when those vigilant thoughts started to bubble up inside of me, I was mindful of them, aware of them, and allowed them to dissolve, resigning myself to the comforting thought that I’m not in a rush.
There is no rush.
* This only happened once in my life. And the looks on the three ladies’ faces weren’t jovial from my rear view mirror.