You Never Know…

I love telling people what lousy drivers they are. Seriously, if you drive too slow in front of me or pass too fast or tailgate or take a turn like a ninety-nine-year-old blind man, I’m probably in my own car, calling you a twitwit. It’s a bad habit. Sometimes I curse, though, to my credit, I’m pretty creative about it.

The thing is, my daughters are in the car with me. A lot. And this is bad, because what they don’t understand is that I’m not really mad. Sure, I may call the guy with the earbuds who’s texting and smoking and swerving into my lane a crapknuckle, but I’m really just frustrated and blowing off steam. Then, later on, I’ll think about that poor crapknuckle, and, because it’s what I do, I’ll imagine reasons why he was driving that really ancient pee-yellow Ford Fiesta with the missing back bumper. And I’ll picture him hating being on his shift at his lousy job but liking it better than being at home with his girlfriend who’s on his case all the time about him not making enough money to support her in the style to which she’s never become accustomed.

Because, see, I’m old. And I’ve gone through enough bad stuff to know that you can’t tell by looking at someone, or by the things they do on the road or in front of you in the store or by the things they post on Tumblr, what bad stuff they’ve been through. Or might even be going through right now. Maybe if we all thought about that in the moment (even if the moment is really annoying), the world would be a nicer place with fewer people like me cursing in front of their kids.

I know this. I really do. And I’m trying to get better, for my kids’ sake and for my own. Besides, sometimes, the buttstump in the old gray minivan veering out of her lane is me. And god knows, most days, I could use a kind word. Or two.