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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Perspective: See you on the other side

I've noticed over the past number of years an amazing phenomenon in my life.   I suspect some of it--the phenomenon--is part of the natural process of gaining age and experience, some of it is karma, and some of it just coincidental.  So, what is it you ask?  Glad you asked!  What I speak of is seeing or being on the other side (of situations or life in general).  I will expand upon what I mean in just a moment, but what brought the concept was a mundane everyday experience.

I was on my drive home earlier tonight and was in the fast lane as is my custom. I noticed someone bearing down on me.   I was going 70MPH + and giving a reasonable distance with the car in front of me (60mph being the speed limit).  Anyway, the driver behind me must have had a hot date or something, because I couldn't make out his headlights in my rearview mirror.  Frankly, I don't know if I could see his license plate?   You know if a driver is that close (especially at a pretty high speed), they are dangerously tailgating you.  As is my custom, I let off the gas a little as I don't appreciate someone risking my safety because he or she is impatient.   I did a kind of jerky move though, once I passed a car off to the side, I noticed that the tailgater was making a power move to get around me.  I wasn't having any of it. After all, I was going to be that jerk's karma this day.  I sped up enough that he couldn't pass me as I caught up to and was now passing another car on my side.  He fell back behind me and continued tailgating, probably pissed off that he couldn't get around me.  He probably also knew what I had done. 

Every since I was involved in a high speed collision with another driver and her irresponsible driving, I don't take kindly to irresponsible, overly aggressive drivers.  If you are behind me and look like you want to drive more quickly than I am, I will probably see you and make every effort to move out of your way.  In other words, safely and reasonably let you pass me.  If you are pushy about it--in a way that threatens my safety such as tailgating or threatening to cut me off--I don't take too kindly to it.  I will make it a point make sure you don't get rewarded for driving in a reckless manner.  I'm sure that's not defensive driving, but who's perfect?

The funny thing about the story above is that I used to be the jerky, impatient driver who tailgated others in the fast lane in an attempt to ENCOURAGE them to change lanes and get out of my way.  My wife said, "Maybe they don't realize how pushy they are being.  They want to get where they want to get and don't really think about the other person."  I disabused her of that notion.  Not to say that that is never the case.  But, I personally know better. I used to think to myself as I was riding close to the driver in front of me, "Aren't you getting the message?  Just the get the hell out of my way."   It's funny though, years and a high impact collision later, I'm the old man effectively screaming, "Get off my lawn" or the driving equivalent of it.  I see it from the other side now.

In my first marriage, when we first lived together, my now ex moved into my apartment and then the house I bought shortly thereafter.  I never realized how much of an adjustment that may have been until years later. I remarried and I was the one that was moving into my significant other's place.  She has owned the place for over 20 years and I'm the person moving in.   It gives me some perspective now from the other side.

Then there is the child to parent role being flipped.  When I was a teen, I remembered thinking my parents were old.  Then one day I found myself being "my parent's age" and having children.  While I wasn't carefree as a teen, I remember that I wasn't super worried about paying the bills and things like that.  Now, I can see it on the other side.  Having to worry more about others than myself.

I suspect one day, I will be the older driver who is taking too long during rush hour.  I will be the older driver who is driving 45 in a 45 zone irritating the people behind me.  In other words, the one who is blocking the younger drivers, you know those drivers who are in a hurry.  If I have the presence of mine and am not too ornery, I might even laugh about it as it is happening.

I guess another way of describing this situation is: If you live long enough you will experience life's rich ironies.  That is, irony with a rich helping of iron.


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