I've noticed in life that any time there is a major event, like that covered in "A Crash in Huntsvillle", that things seem different for a while. They do, at least for myself, and what I mean by that is how I ended that blog that time is short and things and people need to be cherished. With that said I am more aware of the actions of those around me and yesterday I saw both sides of people.
Yesterday morning I was headed to the police academy to give a training on autism and it was early, I was tired, so I needed my daily dose of caffeine and I stopped at a gas station. This is a normal event typically not worth writing about, however I did have a bit of a limp as my left ankle is about twice the size of my right ankle from my minor incident in Huntsville. This limp was noticed by the clerk and when he rang me out he said, "you've got a limp?" and I mentioned that my ankle was slightly sprained to which he asked what pain medication I was using, had I been icing it, and if I had to be on it. Usually this would make me uncomfortable because it is needless chatter and I wouldn't know how to respond, but I was actually touched that a random person, a person that I may never see again, took the time to give his advice on how to minimize the pain and make it better more quickly.
I left the station with a gigantic smile. If you've followed my blog from the beginning you'll know that these encounters used to be the stuff that made me stressed above all else, but with this newfound sense of "cherishing the moment" it was touching. This feeling was quickly shattered as I got into my car and a car leaving the station tried an overzealous move to get out in front of cars that had the right of way and both cars honked their horns and one of them had a prolonged period of honking (writer's note: I never thought I'd write the phrase, "prolonged period of honking." I laughed out loud writing that!) and then they faked a U-turn with giving some rather no so nice gestures to the car that had crossed in front of them.
Seeing such juvenile behavior saddened me. I didn't let it shake me as I continued onto the academy and gave a stellar presentation (their words, not mine) and afterwards the same officers come to our city location to learn even more about autism and it was on this drive that I would see another experience that would sadden me.
When I got four stop lights from our city office I was stopped and the turn arrow came on and in the oncoming lanes the lead car did not go. The car behind blasted their horn for a few seconds more than was needed and the lead car reciprocated that behavior with some more much unneeded hand signals. I said aloud to no one that could hear, "What is wrong with people?"
Maybe when we've experienced one, or more, experience like the crash life takes on a new meaning. We, or at least I, realize that time is short and in a blink of an eye things can change. That being said how can we allow such instant anger over miniscule things? Are they times to get angry? Absolutely! But in the grand scheme of things is a few seconds at a red light worth getting that worked up over? Is it worth also returning the anger?
A post like this has probably been written an infinite amount of times in, "life is short, be happy, treat others with respect" and all that other good stuff and in a few weeks I'll probably myself move on from having these things impact me. That's what life is; if we stayed in that place of shock, and realizing time is actually short life itself would probably become overwhelming. That being said, though, is it that difficult to be like that gas station clerk? Is it difficult to, instead of emitting so much anger to others show just a little bit of concern? I know I'm probably the last person in the world to be speaking on this matter having tried to isolate myself from others for so long, but to that guy at the gas station I have to say you made my day and gave me hope that not everyone I come across in a day is going to be an angry driver who is more than ready to show their displeasure.