Don’t sweat the Petty Stuff

Today was another day on the road.  With two boys playing hockey, we do seem to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

I was on the way home from a hockey clinic with my oldest son.  We were stopped at a light in front of a shopping mall.  I know it is getting closer to Christmas, and it seems that even the air around the malls gets angrier and angrier as we get closer to the Yuletide.

We were the first ones stopped at the red light,and on my left hand side was a grey Cavalier waiting in the left hand turn lane.  They were given an advanced green for the turning lane.  The driver of the Cavalier did not immediately proceed into the intersection .  The delay was barely noticeable to the untrained eye.  Unfortunately for the Cavalier driver, the gentleman right behind was a highly trained timer.  Before the Cavalier driver could place his foot on the gas, the impatient follower was blaring the horn.

My naive son asked me why that guy was laying on the horn.  Hmmm.  Where to begin?

I suppose, in defense of Mr. Impatience, there is a slight possibility that he had a pregnant wife beside him who was minutes away from delivery.  I suppose it is even possible that he is the doctor hurrying to get the hospital to deliver another life into this world.  Mr. Impatient might even be a secret agent tasked with protecting Stephen Harper for thugs throwing cream pies – and the cream pie truck is getting away.  Pretty much anything is possible.

But in all likelihood, Mr. Impatient is under the impression that the 0.6 seconds that he spent idling at this light, can never be made up again.  If this happens 10 times today, there is 6 seconds just GONE.  VANISHED.  NEVER TO BE REGAINED.  No wonder he had to lay on the horn.  Who is going to pay for this grievous infraction.  SOMEONE HAS GOT TO PAY!!

This mentality is so far from where I am.  Every day things happen to us that might mildly aggravate us if we allow them to.  There was a day when I would go berserk if I came across double entry doors into a store and found one of them to be locked.  It still makes me wonder why someone would go through the bother of locking one door while leaving the other open.  I have just come to the conclusion that the staff is simply getting a few kicks out of watching us try to open the locked door.  And who can blame them?  They have a minimum wage job and have to be nice to everyone who comes in that one door.  They deserve a little fun.

But what good comes from Mr. Impatient blaring on his horn?  None.  Notta.  Zero. Zip.  The Cavalier driver is now slightly aggravated.  Mr. Impatient’s blood pressure just shot up 30 points.  If it happens 1o times in a day, those 6 seconds of lost time are compounded by the 2 years he just took off his life expectancy through undue stress.  So why sweat the petty stuff?

Within an hour we also saw a lady being rude to a teller because she had to wait several minutes to be served.  Hey lady – don’t you know that it is almost December and pretty much everyone (except me and every male I know) are trying to get those last few Christmas gifts.  With 279,000 people in the store, you just might have to wait a few minutes.    I could see the veins in Mrs. Rude’s neck popping out beyond the level of her nose.  Her face was red and ruddy; her fists were clenched, and her posture read “Come on, try me – try me I said”.  And what good was achieved by her rude response?  That nice teller probably took her break early and went to lock one  of the two store doors.  That is what I would do.  Mrs. Rude is no less aggravated, and she pulled a lot of happy people down with her.  Why sweat the petty stuff?

Later in the day, I had to stop by the gas station and put some fuel in the beast.  The pumps were all full (I guess all this idling at lights and racing to gobble up Christmas specials takes a lot of gas).  I pulled in behind one vehicle, patiently waiting to take my turn.  I could not help but notice one driver circling the pumps like a vulture on a dead gazelle.  I knew I was in for some good entertainment.  One driver pulled in  real close to the vehicle at the pumps, hoping to secure his rightful position.  One driver backed up a bit to cut of the circling lane.  Everyone seemed to be on edge.  All because one driver was trying to jump the queue.  I could almost see the tension it was so thick.  And why?  If we all just accepted our fates and followed the rules of civility, maybe all of us can get away from these gas pumps without having to witness some criminal behavior.  Sure enough, the circler tried to back into a spot out of turn.  Another driver tried to help the rightful driver attain her position and tempers flared.  I ran into the store to see if one of the tellers could lock one of the doors for my own entertainment, but got no cooperation.  Hmmmppff.  The circler, unfazed by the negative vibes aimed at him, proceeded to put $10 worth into his tank and got out ^$%)! out of there.  As one driver came to talk to me about the insanity of the situation, I concluded that all humanity has a certain level of insanity, and if we just accept it, our own lives will be better for it.  Why sweat the petty stuff?

As I drove back to the arena, I pictured Mr. Impatient being stuck in a traffic jam after drinking a large double double.  In my story he ends up soiling himself on his leather seats.   I see the circler running out of gas on his way to the pumps.  He is forced to walk in the pouring rain 4 kilometers to the gas station.  The sole car who passes him is the lady that lost her spot to him, and she pulls over just a bit to ensure she hits the whole puddle beside him before pulling away.  I see Mrs. Rude being overlooked at the train station, and having to wait for the next train.  Too bad.  Now she will miss her charter flight to France.   It puts a smile on my face.  And tomorrow I am going to call Home Depot about exchanging our front door with a double door.  And, you betcha, I am going to keep one side locked.


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