Stone elephant statue sticking out from a streetcorner wall above a stop sign and a no right turn sign

2024 Grateful 44: Consideration or spite?

I’m on the road a lot these days. Driving the same loop. Day in. Day out. I know where the difficult turns are. The ones where I have to wait. And wait. And wait. Hoping that someone will stop long enough to let me out onto the main road.

It’s often a long wait. Seventeen cars drove by me one day; none of them stopped to let me out.

People seem to be in such a hurry to get to where they’re going that they don’t have time to give me the 30 seconds I need to make that turn. That’s not even a minute of their time.

I talk to them, even though I know they can’t hear me. I rant. I rail. I ask them where they’re going, why they don’t stop for me.

Half the time they don’t even see me there, waiting, indicator on.

Others look through me and ignore me. More still studiously avoid my gaze.

Fed up, I decided to take my revenge.

I leave 15 minutes earlier than I need to, to get to where I’m going on time. And any time I see someone trying to enter the main road, I stop and let them in. Even if there isn’t a break in oncoming traffic. I stop. And I wait. And I hold up everyone behind me.

If the person trying to get in is brave enough to enter my lane and inch over to see if someone coming from the opposite direction will let them in, they usually do.

But often, people are not brave enough. They won’t take that half-step forward until the road ahead is completely clear. Those people I don’t wait for. I stop and give them the chance, but if they choose not to take it, that’s on them. I don’t wait.

Dealing with motorists is making me heartless.

I check my rearview mirror and see drivers behind me throw up their hands in frustration as I’ve stopped for the fourth time to let someone into the traffic ahead of me.

And I smile.

I wonder, now, if being so considerate for the wrong reasons still counts as a plus on the ledger of lives well lived. Doing good for one person to spite another? Does that matter?

I wonder.

Regardless, I’m grateful that I’m now a much more considerate driver and far more aware of my surroundings. And to the paltry few (mostly van drivers) who do stop to let me out, you have my thanks.

6 Responses

  1. And I bet you flash your lights to say thank you, too. Gratitude begets good behaviour methinks. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. I don’t drive – but it irritates my husband when he lets someone out and they don’t acknowledge.

    1. Twice last week I nearly got out of the car to have words with a car behind me who beeped at me for letting people out… and the traffic light ahead redder than red. It’s not like anyone was going anywhere soon.

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