Do you have long lists of things to do? I have mammoth to-do lists for each area of my life: work, volunteering, family, household, movies I want to see, books I want to read, shopping. They help me prioritize my time, or, as is often the case, determine how pathetically behind target I might be….
Whatever the system, most people try to organize their lives to meet goals, put things in order and gain control over as much as they can.
But things can sometimes come up that are so unexpected they sabotage our to-do lists and we have to hit the reset button. Random events can rob us of time and send us into chaos for a few minutes, hours, days or even years or a lifetime, in the case of serious events.
In talking to a friend the other day, he mentioned that sometimes he just gets inexplicably angry when another driver does something stupid. He knows it’s “road rage” and he knows not to act on it. The storm will pass. There is no point in losing control. There is no point in letting a random event throw his life into chaos.
It reminded me of the time I witnessed two drivers on a major four-lane city street go completely psychotic with road rage. The drivers were in SUVs jockeying back and forth at high speeds, weaving in and out of lanes chasing each other as they tailgated, slammed on their brakes, blocked traffic and surged forward. And gesticulating with a single digit (the meaning of which is well-known around the world across language barriers).
I can assure you that neither of them woke up that morning and wrote on their to-do list: “Have a good case of road rage today” or “Be sure to do something hateful.”
Finally one of the drivers was able to pull a few car lengths ahead due to a break in traffic. The car chasing him was blocked, so he ran his SUV over the curb and onto the sidewalk, where he proceeded to drive along, tearing up the grass and nearly running over pedestrians, joggers, dog-walkers, elderly citizens, and moms with babies in strollers.
This was beyond astounding to behold.
I don’t know if the two drivers ultimately stopped their cars and got in a verbal or physical altercation. They either argued, fought, were apprehended by authorities, or came to their senses and just drove away.
Whatever the outcome, I can assure you that neither of them woke up that morning and wrote on their to-do list: “Have a good case of road rage today” or “Be sure to do something hateful.”
I certainly don’t have those on mine. I don’t have time for road rage. I don’t have time for hate. I don’t have time for people who bully or demean others.
My friend with the road rage has the common sense to not act on it. He knows that the hate and anger he sometimes feels has a deeper source, and that to act on it and possibly harm another isn’t the right battle to fight.
But many people don’t have the maturity to regulate their behavior or stifle the ugly and nurture the good.
One thing I’ve seen developing of late is hatemongering. There are sources on the Internet and in the media spewing a “road-rage” style of news. Their arguments aren’t well thought out, their sources are suspicious or self-serving, their fact-checking is nonexistent and their agenda appears destructive.
Since my to-do lists are way too long, I move on and don’t waste time on such ranting. I truly only have time for quality people, quality information and constructive things.
I definitely don’t have time for hate.