Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Making Sense Out of Craziness

There is so much pointless violence in the news recently, that it is hard to make sense of it. Rational thought has been replaced by unrestrained emotion. I still find my self asking "why."

We recently had our own little brush with craziness. On Sunday we drove from our home to my in-laws home for dinner. The majority of the trip is spent on freeways and expressways. We have tradition that Henry reads to the kids from one of the Black Stallion books while I drive. (I get car sick, so I can't be the reader.)

Because it was Sunday afternoon, the traffic was light for a California freeway. A car came up behind ours, tailgated for a few moments and then flashed on its lights to get my attention. Since I was keeping pace with the traffic, I thought that was odd. I guessed that the drive must be eager to exit, since the lane I was in could both exit or continue on the freeway. I was puzzled when the driver pulled out of my lane and into the faster lane just has we approached the exit. The driver made an obscene gesture as he spend past our car. The car then continued on in the faster lane.

I puzzled over this little exchange. I was driving about 63 mph in a 65 mph zone, in the right lane which is traditionally the "slow" lane. If the driver wanted to driver faster, why was in in the slow lane? I discussed it at dinner with Henry and his parents. Some one suggested that maybe I had cut the other driver off, but I can't figure out how that could have occurred. Twice during the trip I merged on to another freeway. I remember thinking to myself, that with this light traffic, it was so much easier to merge. Once on the multilane freeway, I stayed in the traditional "slower" lane and kept pace with the surrounding traffic.

Someone else suggested that maybe he didn't like my bumper sticker. I have a faded bumper sticker with the name of a candidate from an election a few years ago. This type of boorish behavior did fit the stereotype I have of a particular political organization, but it still seems a bit of a reach. How likely would it be that driving down the freeway, someone noticed a small, faded bumper sticker and decided to harass a woman driving car full of children on a Sunday afternoon?

The last theory was maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. We do drive a rather nondescript Toyota Camry. There are a lot of them on the road.

Maybe it is pointless to try and make sense out of nonsense, but it's the psychologist in me. Why was he so angry? Why did he think that being angry made it ok to harass another driver? Why was it so important to him that I observe his little tantrum? How did he feel as he drove away?

This minor incident reminds me of so many tragedies caused by people who have become a slave to their anger. What in our society drives this kind of thing?

The theme from the Shadow comic hero popped into my head: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Maybe it's not that complicated after all.

Related Tags:


Robert M. Lindsey said...

I have a post on some of the craziness happening near by where I live, in the middle of the country. http://biblicalparenting.blogspot.com/2006/10/what-is-going-on.html

Janine Cate said...

There sure is a lot of sad stories in the news. I think the "Good Samaritans" are more numerous than the crazies, but it is still very sad.