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road rage

The Car in Front of You

The other day I was driving to work when the car in front of me screeched to a near stop and the driver debated what to do. It was not a complicated problem. The car in front of them was turning left across traffic. The car in front of me simply had to drive around them. There was plenty of room to do so.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I yelled from within my car. (Note: The window was closed, so I was sort of just yelling at myself.) “This is not rocket science! Just go around!”

Eventually, the car in front of me made the right decision and drove around. As I kept driving I was annoyed. I felt like this was a microcosm of life. People are driving along and then an obstacle crosses their path and they don’t know what to do. To be successful in life you need to react quickly to the unexpected.

Eventually, at the next stop light, the one lane became two and I pulled up next to the car in front of me. Its driver was an elderly woman who had a look of complete concentration on her face, her hands firmly on the steering wheel at the 10 and 2 position.

And then it hit me: I was making a classic mistake.

In life, we never know who is in the car in front of us. We shouldn’t make snap judgements on how they handle adversity, because we never know what they’re dealing with or how much it takes out of them simply to make the drive of life.

I smiled over to the elderly woman and, again with the window closed, thanked her for teaching me a great lesson on both my literal and metaphorical journey.

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