I sat in my new car today with a grin on my face as the salesperson showed me around the various buttons and controls on the dash. Suddenly there was a loud RAP, RAP, RAP, as an older man banged his knuckles against the corner of my windshield and then, with an expression that was a cross between loathing and disgust, he pointed forward. The message, evidently, was that the salesperson had put my car in a spot that blocked his exit. Forty years of environmental conditioning acting like instinct came boiling to the surface and I leapt from my car. As I walked the four steps to his car 15 years of self-examination, reading, training, and personal development superseded the preceding conditioning and I smiled and asked him to open his window. He did, (the face was not much improved though he’d added a bit of surprise to the overall look of consternation and misery) and I asked if his hand gesture meant that I was in the way. He said it did and did not return my smile. So I smiled again and said, “Let me just move out of your way then and I will let you get on to enjoy the rest of this gorgeous day.” I would like to say that he softened and smiled back and apologized for being such a donkey but he didn’t. He probably thought I was a misplaced Osmond brother or a Joel Osteen disciple who stayed too far from church. He still looked angry and unhappy as he closed his window and I walked away.
My only solace is something my beautiful daughter Christine said to me a few weeks back. We were talking about a different situation but her words from that day rang in my ears.
“At the end of the day you get to be you and he still has to be him.”
2013 Motto: “Run Hard…Sleep Well”