Thursday, June 12, 2014

Don't Be That Person

As usual, there was traffic on my drive home yesterday. But heavier than normal. A car was stalled on an interchange ramp so we all slowly made our way around her. The poor girl was on her phone when I past, maybe calling for help, but there wasn't much she could do. I felt awful for her. Car problems are bad. But car problems on the freeway are just awful.

We all made it around her and the traffic lightened up a bit. And then about a mile down the road I saw the same stalled car drive past me. Hooray.

And then about another mile down the road traffic slowed again, this time to a complete stop. Because the same car who stalled back at the interchange and then zipped by me was stalled again. In the fast lane. And like that, all of my sympathy vanished. 

Because you don't drive a car in the fast lane if it has a habit of stalling! You go into the slow lane and you hang out with the semis so that if it stalls again you're right by the shoulder instead of in the middle of the freeway where you will potentially have to get out of your car and risk getting killed. Also, you would be out of everyone's way on the shoulder. She couldn't help the first time but she definitely could have prevented the second time. She just added 30 minutes to thousands of people's already long commutes.

This brings me to the larger issue of Don't Be That Person. I have a heightened sense of civic duty when it comes to not being that person who messes it up for everyone else. Like the person in the check out line who's squabbling with the checker because he saw an ad that said grapes are on sale but they're not. Don't be the person who holds up the line over 30 cents! Or the person who brings a toddler to the movies and won't take them out when they inevitably lose it. Or my neighbors across the way who stand out talking on their balcony all night and are so loud and vulgar that I have to shut my door and don't get the cool night air. Or the person who isn't ready with their order at the drive-thru, even at In-n-Out when the line takes forever and you already know what they have anyway because it's been the same six items your entire life! Everyone knows their In-n-Out order but you, lady!

I try to be patient with people. I really do. I don't want to shame someone over it because I like to believe that most people aren't That Person and are just having a bad day. And maybe 30 cents really is a big deal. And I think we're all a little oblivious from time to time. But there are certain things you can do to not be that person. And driving in the slow lane when you're having car trouble is one of them.

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