I know why the Baltimore riots occurred. Everyone has an opinion – it’s race, it’s bad police, it’s poverty, it’s…….
No. It’s actually a lot simpler than that in my humble opinion……
When I started commuting regularly after 20 years, I was taken aback by how much more road rage there is today. Heaven forbid you don’t lurch your car forward the split second a light turns green, or three people will honk at you. Turn signals? Do they even exist anymore? Is that not a thing that is manufactured inside automobiles now?
This past weekend, Erynn and I went to our regular camping trip with the horses. It has been a tough year already, and I tried to take my mind off of everything and enjoy my time with her. We had a lot of fun. Stormy hadn’t been on one of these trails for two years, as she had her maternity time off. She was wonderful. Seems the sixth baby was a charm, and she was much calmer than usual, and Erynn could even use her as road guard. Speaking or road guard…..
Road guard is something fun that Erynn and I do together. When there are 50 or so horses out on a trail, road guards are needed to hold traffic back when all the horses are crossing (and let’s face it, she and I like to plow through the woods with some speed past everyone else when we need to haha!). Well, one road guard incident really stuck out. Erynn and another teen went to one side of the road up on a slight hill. Myself and another woman took the lower part of the road. A white SUV pulled up to the teens, and Erynn told the woman she cannot drive forward – there were a lot of horses crossing the street, we would be done in a minute. The woman pulled forward up to Stormy’s hind end. Stormy starts rearing, and this woman says to Erynn in a not-so-nice manner, “I don’t see a horse crossing sign here!” still trying to push by Erynn and her horse, totally disregarding the fact that this horse could flip over and kill this teen – Erynn knows how to handle her horse, but she had never been pushed by a vehicle.
My thoughts: Dear God, is this more road rage against a teen on horseback? what did this teen do to you?, Is it because she has short colorful hair and doesn’t look like the stereotypical prissy girl? Are you treating her like she’s beneath you? What gives?
Erynn wanted to say (but of course she didn’t because she is respectful), “I don’t see a kindergartner crossing sign, but I bet you wouldn’t hit one of them!” I don’t know, Erynn… I’m kinda thinking some people would anymore.
Erynn said to me later:
“Why are people so angry?”
Yes, why ARE people so angry?
Yesterday was a perfect example of a typical day. On my way to work, I was in stop-and-go traffic on the Baltimore Beltway. A small pickup behind me was quite close. I had to brake because of the traffic. I glanced in my rearview mirror, startled that there was something blocking the driver’s face. What is THAT?……and he swerved from behind me onto the shoulder to avoid a collision. I kept glancing back, but had to make another stop. Again, he nearly rear-ended me just as I saw this puff of smoke cover his entire face. A vape? Are you kidding me? You are vaping in your own face blocking your vision? He then proceeded to scream and yell, and then pass me and give me the finger. Awesome.
Every day is busy busy busy for most Americans… absolutely. I left work early for an appointment. On my way back home, I was driving down a quiet country road. My thoughts were on my 17-year-old cat, Nala. Dean went out of his way to find Nala and bring her to me as a kitten when Barrett was 2 years old while I was struggling obtaining a pregnancy the second time around. I will never forget the day he opened the door and held her out to me. This man, who is allergic to all animals, presented me with a special tiny little gift to help me get through the frustration of secondary infertility. I was Nala’s person. Nala always slept on my chest at night with her paws gently touching my face and head butted me all the time, showing her unconditional love. Over the past two years, Nala became deaf, and when I had come back from this weekend’s camping trip, she was seeking relief of her pain by coming out of her usual hiding places. Dean and I were taking her last night to be put down.
Back into the moment on the road, there was a vehicle in front of me, and a large boxy old pickup truck in front of that vehicle. He was going about 10 to 15 miles under the speed limit. I understand during retirement, one must enjoy driving down the country roads without a care in the world. However, if you are going that slow, one would also expect others to pass, right? I had just resolved myself to the fact that I would be late to the vet, and maybe they will still take pity on our dying cat, when the vehicle in front of me decided to pass the truck. I really hate to pass and seldom do, but looking ahead, we had nothing but cornfields, no visual obstruction, and no other vehicles in sight.
I followed suit. Just as I started passing the truck, in my periphery, I saw the older gentleman look at me. In a millisecond, I glanced over and saw a very very horribly angry face. I saw both hands on his steering wheel jerk the wheel violently to the left, forcing me to swerve to avoid him hitting me, but yet I teetered on the edge of the road – had I caught my wheel, my small car would have flipped down the embankment.
I was horrified. I’m simply a nobody trying to follow another vehicle passing a big old slow truck, so that I can see the end of my pet’s life…. so I can be with her and hold her and comfort her during her final breaths.
I honked my horn, and the driver flipped me off.
I was then scared. I knew there was a stop sign up ahead, what if he catches up with me and becomes violent? I mean, not to be overly dramatic, but who intentionally tries to run someone off the road like that? Furthermore, how in the heck am I supposed to be comfortable having my 16-year-old out on the road with angry drivers like this?
Why are people so angry?
Ethics? Morals? Respect for one another? – those are rare traits these days. Whatever happened to something as simple as treat others how you would want to be treated. Is that such a bad thought? I mean, we all get in our bad moods, but when it comes down to hurting others intentionally without a single care in the form of violence – wow. I just don’t understand. As a Baltimore native myself, what we and our friends saw with the rioting was unbelievable – and if nothing else, what did we take away from it? I know what I took away from it… whether it’s “dirty cops” or “thugs” as those were the names thrown around, really…. none of this would have ever occurred if people, on ALL SIDES of the equation were not so mean, and had just treated others the way they would want to be treated. Something so simple that many of us learned in elementary school….. not something frequently taught or instilled apparently.
Everyone is so angry these days…. and it is not necessarily race, social status, or anything else… when you really get down to it, there is such a void when it comes to basic kindness and respect for fellow humans. What kind of society are we becoming?
And I fully admit, I have had my road range, stupid anger for no reason at all – none of us are perfect, but I cannot fathom the idea of trying to harm someone else.
At any rate, for those who asked about Nala…. we did have her put down last night. In hindsight, I should have had her put down a week or two ago. She definitely seemed to have waited through the weekend for us to return. She quickly deteriorated from there. I held her close the entire ride to the vet, trying to keep reassuring her of my presence. When we made it to the waiting room, she was gasping, so we moved quickly to relieve her of her discomfort. It was very sad, but I have to say, it was a relief to have her at peace.
I’ve already, believe it or not, had a few nasty comments said to me (perfectly illustrating my point of the bitterness and anger these days) that I provoked the driver and that having someone try to run me off the road is not the same as killing someone or whatever. While I did not provoke the driver, I can say that someone trying to run someone off the road *IS* a warning sign of the violent behavior that is so prevalent currently. The simple lack of respect for human life is incredible these days.
I held my dying cat. Yeah, I know she was “just an animal” but sit there with a dying animal (or human) in your arms.. and be “in the moment” and see and touch her struggle to remain alive…. Feel the life quietly go from her…… and realize that will be each and every one of us one day. Seriously become aware of the gift of life and realize that it can go so quickly and easily. Yet are we really respecting it or are we walking around day in and day out angry, bitter, and ready to snap?