I got flagged off the other day – not with an actual flag, but with a finger.
I didn’t really think people did that anymore. I guess it’s been a long time since anyone showed me their tallest finger.
I was picking up my older son from his first day at a new school and was trying to navigate all the construction and traffic on I-95. I realized I needed to get over one lane and no one would oblige the blinking request of my turn signal.
Now I may fail in a myriad of ways as a nice human being, but one thing that I can say for certain is that I always let motorists in when they need to get over.
I know this is not a profound act and I hope someone can come up with something a little more interesting to say about me at my funeral. Still, when you have your precious 9-year-old in the backseat and are heading straight for a concrete median at 60 mph you tend to appreciate such mundane acts of kindness.
Anyway, I couldn’t get over and did not want to smash into the concrete so my only safe option was to merge into the exit lane.
That’s when the middle finger emerged as an appendage of a very passionate man. It wasn’t any ordinary finger either, because it also made quite a loud honking sound.
Of course, I did not know what the proper response to his gesture should be, and frankly I was so frazzled from my close encounter with concrete that I did not have time to formulate one. In a blink of a finger, he was gone.
I know this is one of those things that I am supposed to shrug off. After all, it wasn’t a gun he pulled out. Thank you, Mr. Passionate Man with the slender middle finger, for not shooting me when I annoyed you. My family is ever grateful.
Still, I feel like maybe, just maybe you could have left your finger on the steering wheel where it belonged.
I feel certain that if you met me you would see that I am not a murderous wretch. I am just a scattered mama who has two carpool lines to be in, on two different sides of town, at the same time. In a way, that makes me a modern day time-traveler. As such, you might even find that you want my autograph.
I realize the time-travel thing loses some of its coolness factor when you get run off the road, but no one’s perfect.
And while perfection cannot be attained, perhaps patience can.
While, I can’t remember the last time my tall finger put on a solo performance, I have been just as guilty of letting my frustrations dictate my behavior.
The problem with doing this is we lose sight of one another’s humanness. We value being right more than being kind. We value our destination more than someone else’s dignity. We make sure our voices are heard without pausing to think of whom those voices hurt.
It has been exactly a week since I was shown how passionately that man feels about me, and I am happy to say my commute as a time traveling, carpool mom has been less dramatic.
But, I would like to thank that passionate finger-wielding man for reminding me about the importance of practicing patience and kindness even when your fingers point you in a different, darker direction.
In gratitude for sharing your finger with me and hence this lesson, I would like to give you not one of my own — but two.
So, is it just or me or do people seem way too agitated while they are driving these days? There were two accidents in front of my son’s school just this week. Then, this morning while trying to navigate what I call the death merge I got honked at — and not because they thought I was pretty. I guess I am just grateful that I didn’t get the finger…again! Please share your experiences, I always love to hear from you and maybe someone just needs to tell me I am a terrible driver and need to stay off the roads!