Saturday, October 8, 2011

If Looks Could Kill, I'd Be Dead Right Now

Granted I was perhaps a smidge over the exact, precise, middle of the area in the exit of the restaurant driveway allotted to those going out.  Okay, I'll own that. I wanted to get K.'s take-out dinner back to him while it was still hot and was not paying strictest attention.

 In my own defense, there was no center line painted, and my bifocals sometimes interpret the world in their own way, regardless of where I perch them on my nose.

But the lady driving in was not exactly perfectly aligned with her own lane's dead-center; nevertheless, she gave me a look that would have done me severe damage, if not out-right killed me, if looks could do that.  Trust me, hers almost had that effect.  Scary!

I had never met her before, and I sure hope I never have to again.  Oh my, that look was just dreadful.  It was more than sour, more than irritated, more than resentful - but something less than human.  It was bovinely opaque but wolfishly cruel.

Uggghh!  It made me shudder as we slowly passed each other and she shot me daggers as though I had personally, deliberately, with great malice aforethought, just ruined her entire day.

Now bear in mind, I did not in any way impede her progress, nor do her any actual damage, nor even slow her progress.  I simply was "in her way" from her apparent visible reaction.

It was startling, this wildly exaggerated response, to what was not even a minor inconvenience.  And yet there was this expressed hostility to a complete stranger (that would be me - shivering in the Le Sabre's seat).

I drove home contemplating, what causes a person to take something so personally that they feel the need, nay the right, to glare daggers at another human being?

It simply escapes me.  Dear lord, what dwells in a heart that is that angry at the world in general?

You may be wondering, "Why does it matter?"

I would suggest that this kind of unwarranted anger, simmering so frequently just below the surface of our society in general, is what leads to road rage, drive-by random shootings and other unnecessary and yet increasing mayhem.

Now I am not a particularly mild-mannered individual myself.  I can be snarky, and stupid and demanding.  Can't we all?

But anytime I privately find myself muttering under my breath something about another person like "what an idiot" - and I have been known to do that - I immediately stop and ask for forgiveness.  Well, almost always.

I cannot know what provoked them, what burden they carry, what sorrow they bear, what fury they are trying to resist.

What I can do is say a quick prayer for them.  (And stay well on my own side of the driveway.  :) And then say one for myself,  asking the Lord to help me refrain from joining the incivility in today's every day life.  It is a little thing, but even if it is the least I can do, it is something.

Sometimes a "little something" is all we can do.  And occasionally it is even enough.  :)  Until next time ...Marsha


  1. I often view these types of encounters as, 'reverse pay it forward' encounters. Instead of paying forward random acts of kindness they put forward whatever ugliness they encountered. Who knows what happened to her in that day that something as trivial as a smidge into her lane brings out such hostility? I'm with you, a prayer for them that they can shed the heaviness in their soul and let in the light that is there waiting to bring them joy.


  2. Well, welcome to the times in which we live. There is an impersonality to our lives that we have not seen before in our history. We relate to electronics and not each other. Then you have all these streses today---jobs, schedules, marriages, kids, meals, etc. I guess the only way a lotta' people can make it thru the day is to vent on others. Of course, these days, you never know when someone has a gun....

  3. When I read moments like this, I think back to look at my own life to recall if I have done anything to irritate others like this. Thoughtless, hurrying, dumb encounters that hurt others rather than help. Hopefully not but even a second, a blink of an eye can be a defining moment. Thanks for the reminder!
    P.s. My mother used to use that expression all the time..."if looks could kill...."

  4. Wow! You really nailed this one. I did something recently very similar to what you did. It was my fault -- no argument.
    It was minor, but the response from the other person was so over-the-top that it took me aback.
    If I'd done something dangerous are acted irresponsibly, then it's fair that people get upset, but for something so minor, it's absurd for that kind of reaction.

  5. I'm always surprised when people over-react to something so minor. And I kind of get my feelings hurt. But I've never been prompted to pray for them, and so you've just reminded me to do something very nice. Once again, you've inspired me.