I was in the drive-through at a fast food place the other day. A guy in an SUV had pulled forward to wait for his order, but the back of his SUV was partially blocking the walkway.
A man walked out of the restaurant and, seeing the sidewalk partially blocked, decided to take the extra steps to walk around the front of the vehicle to give the driver the evil-eye, even though he had room to walk behind it.
All the way around the vehicle, the man glared. He clearly thought the guy in the SUV was a jerk or, at the very least, careless.
Meanwhile, a woman in a car was waiting to turn out of the parking lot, and realized she forgot part of her order. So, she started to slowly back up. The man who was on foot walked right into her path, right into her blind spot, all the while staring into the SUV.
The guy in the SUV saw what was happening and beeped his horn. The glaring man stopped. And the woman in the car kept backing up.
So, I beeped my horn, and then I got the evil-eye. I also got the attention of the woman in the car, who stopped just inches from the man. And the man, as far as I could tell, never even knew the car was there. He was so committed to making his point that he was oblivious to what was happening around him.
I see this more and more. So many people who are just angry, vehemently angry. Sometimes, they’re angry about trivial things; often, things that are none of their business. And they’re so committed to their anger that they can’t or won’t see beyond their own myopic points of view.
Worse, too many people seem to feel the need to let everyone around them know that something has upset them, even something as inconsequential as a vehicle partially blocking a walkway. Some people won’t be happy until everyone else is miserable.
I don’t know why the guy in the SUV didn’t pull farther forward. I don’t think he knew he was sort of in the way. I don’t know if he would have pulled up if someone had told him, because the person who was uniquely positioned to tell him opted to handle the situation with a passive-aggressive gesture, which in no way solved the original “problem” of the sidewalk being sort of blocked.
Every day, our paths cross the paths of others. And so, we share a lot of little experiences with people we don’t know. Sometimes, we misunderstand. Sometimes, we disagree. Sometimes we overreact.
But usually, we can choose whether those experiences are pleasant or ugly.
Choose wisely, because you never know when fate will direct you across the path of someone who can change the trajectory of your journey, or brighten your day, or solve that riddle you’ve been obsessing about, or show you the bigger picture so your grumpy self doesn’t get run over.
Lania Rocha is a reporter for View Newspapers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.