Analyzing Anger: Why do motorists scream at cyclists? And more....[Part 1 of 2....at least I think it'll be just two]
I ask this because the other afternoon while biking from the downtown Wilmington riverfront to Empie Park, I had a pretty sad experience. A light turned green, and, being in front, I went first. The people in the white Blazer behind me, seemingly unable to pass, took issue with this. I heard someone yell, “Get outta the road!” I turned to look. They were waving at me. Thinking they might just be joking around, I waved them by.
As it turns out, they weren’t joking. They passed me, engine revving, hands extending, middle fingers raised. “Buunnnndddllleeee offffff stickssssss!”
(OK, they didn’t really say “bundle of sticks” – they said something else, a gay slur, which is kinda funny. That’s kinda like someone calling me – clearly a white boy – the n-word, right? I mean, I’m wearing a wedding ring. Although perhaps they couldn’t see that through the plumes of smoke wafting from their cigarettes. Seriously, too much smoke was coming out of that window. Like, what was going on in there?)
Astounded, I just laughed and raised my left hand in disbelief, two questions on my mind. One: How could someone be so angry over something so…nothing? And two: Why couldn’t they have just gone around, anyway? When they passed, a car was in the other lane, yet a good three feet of space remained between us.
Anger, even my own, confuses me most of the time. When I’m the brunt of someone else’s, I wonder why, and when I get angry, I wonder why. I’m batting .500 when it comes to finding good answers to those “Why”s.
Perhaps we get so angry because we get so impatient. This can apply to most instances of anger, I think. When a biker doesn’t let us pass soon as we want; when a spouse doesn’t do what we want soon as we want; when God doesn’t answer our questions soon as we want; on the list can go.
And perhaps we get so impatient because we don’t take the time to understand.
Plumes of smoke aside, I can actually relate to the girls in the Blazer. Bikers once infuriated me, too. Why? I don’t even know, now. I guess because they got in my way a little, slowed me down a little. You know, stole precious seconds of my time that I could have spent….yeah, OK, it’s definitely a horrible reason to f-bomb someone, even if it is just under my breath, with nobody else within earshot.
Then I started biking, and discovered, Hey, this is actually a blast. I understood the appeal. Thus, my anger toward bikers vanished. I saw how pointless getting angry at bikers is….and how unbelievably dangerous jerk drivers like me make it for them.
All we bikers want is to get some exercise, save some gas, do our part to try postponing the inevitable environmental meltdown, and….wear spandex. You know, our little ways of feeling like superheroes.
So, I guess since all good bloggers end their posts with questions, I’ll end with a question, too: What’s something that’s ticked you off the most for the past few years? How have you dealt with it, if at all? And why or why not?
Coming tomorrow morning: Analyzing Anger, My Own and Others’ – Part 2 of (I think) 2.