Wednesday, December 21, 2005

People just need to calm down

Twice this week I was almost in car accidents, thanks to drivers talking on their cell phones, in an all-fire hurry to get somewhere. People just need to calm down.

The first one was less than a mile from home. I was in the Suburban and the car next to me realized that there were two cars in front of it, stopped with their flashers on. So, rather than being bothered to pause their cell phone conversation and stop, the driver next to me decided it would be preferable to simply put their blinker on as they moved into the lane I was in. I braked sharply and blew the horn, almost running up onto the median to keep from being hit by the driver. The driver couldn't be bothered though, as he/she simply continued driving 1/2 a mile up the road with their blinker still on, then slipped back into their original lane. I hope that driver was on the phone with a friend or relative who was in the hospital swinging on the hinges of death, because nothing short of that could justify that behavior. People just need to calm down.

The second one happened on my way home from work. I was in my convertible, cautiously staying in my lane as I moved through a very trafficky area. But a car stopped in a line of traffic next to me decided they were in too much of a hurry to wait 2 seconds for their lane of traffic to resume, so they simply swerved into my lane, without even a blinker, causing me to have to invoke my anti-lock brakes to keep from running into them. As soon as the driver did this, the lane of traffic they had just vacated began moving. People just need to calm down.

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day that went something like this: "Still having trouble finding that PERFECT gift?" Since when is Christmas about finding a PERFECT gift????? Shouldn't it be about spending time with family and friends, and the baby Jesus if you're into that, and exchanging a THOUGHTFUL gift, not necessarily a PERFECT gift? I don't understand why people drive themselves frantic over a gift. People just need to calm down. Another ad I heard said "Trying to keep your sanity during the hectic and stressful holidays?" I thought to myself: No. My holidays are not hectic or stressful because I don't MAKE THEM that way. I do not feel obligated to put myself through all kinds of gyrations in order to keep some holiday tradition, simply because "that's what we've always done". I write and send holiday cards and bake goodies for my neighbors because I want to and I find the time to. But I do not drive myself nuts in the pursuit of holiday "perfection", and neither should anyone else. People just need to calm down.

I overheard a conversation last night at dinner where a woman was telling her husband that she was wishing each of her colleagues at the office a Merry Christmas when to her utter horror she realized she'd wished a Merry Christmas to someone who is Jewish. She spoke as if she were truly mortified, over a small oversight. I'm sure she's not the first person to make that mistake, and probably won't be the last one. But the worse thing to do in a situation like that is to make a huge deal out of it. Simply say "I'm sorry, I meant to say Happy Holidays" and then forget about it. People just need to calm down.

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