Monday, April 22, 2013

One Smile Makes the Day Shine

Another day of shopping and there is no shortage of rude, inconsiderate and possibly plain stupid people. As I was cruising along a two-lane roadway, at a little less than the 45 MPH posted speed limit, the driver of a mini-van ripped rubber off of his tires to come out of a parking lot in front of me. I slowed a little more but it wasn't necessary. He continued to accelerate like he had just had an argument with his wife and was showing her what for.

This type of driving behavior doesn't bother me. This people are eventually going to have an accident but, when they do, I won’t be participating. Curiosity made me look in my rear-view mirror again, though, as the traffic didn't seem heavy enough to warrant such risk just to enter the through-way.

Sure enough, there was nothing behind me. The driver needed only wait for me to pass for a safe entry. Whatever he had going on was, evidently, more important than the safety of himself or others on road.

In the parking lot of the supermarket, I came up behind a pedestrian who was walking dead center in the traffic lane. With my car only 10-15 feet behind her she walked along as if she were the only one in the world. She didn't stop at the stop sign, either.

In my less tolerant days, I would have blasted the horn at her in hope that one of her bodily functions would manifest betrayal on her jeans. I couldn't help but wonder if she was deaf. It’s a real possibility with the way that she was behaving. Then again, if she didn't see the stop sign then maybe she was blind too.

Inside the store, the free morning brunch crowd was at the free sample troughs as usual. I wouldn't mind so much if they’d just get their free food and move on. But no, they have to oink down two or three samples before getting out of the way.

When I came back out of the store, there was mini-van that seemed as the driver was having great difficulty negotiating the turn from the parking lane to the stop sign at the cross walk in front of the store entrance. I hesitated at first as I was unsure of what was happening with the driver. He finally made the turn, stopped for the stop sign and then drove in front of me as I started to cross.

He grinned big at me and waved. Then I saw the problem. He was teaching his dog to drive. A flat-faced, bug-eyed, yapper-sized dog was in the driver’s lap with two front feet on the steering wheel.

It seemed kind of odd to me. I won’t even let my dog ride in the front seat for fear of the airbag hurting him in an accident. He’s a very smart dog but I just never thought of teaching him to drive.

As I was leaving the parking lot I came up behind a pick-up truck that I assumed was second in line at the stop sign waiting to get out into the street. I waited patiently but then I realized that there was no traffic passing on the street. I eased out past the pick-up truck enough to see that he was about 20 feet back from the stop sign with nothing in front of him.

Thinking that maybe he was broken down I eased on around him. The driver didn't see me pass. His head was down as if doing something stupid with a smart phone. The worst of it was that he had stopped next to a line-up of empty parking places that he could have pulled into to avoid blocking the traffic lane.

With all of these people to test my abundant patience I was blessed with the glow of an angel with two cherubs in tow. When I stopped at the crosswalk stop sign, in front of the store entrance, a young mother was there with two toddlers and full shopping cart. She had her hands full.

The younger of the two children was in the child seat of the shopping cart. It took both of the mother’s hands to control the cart so the three-year-old alongside of her was not tethered by a parental hand hold.

By the mother’s movements I thought that she was going to pass behind me instead of in front of me. I waited, nonetheless, in case that I was wrong or in event that the toddler bolted in front of my car. Toddlers are highly unpredictable in such situations.

I know this because I was, long ago, a toddler myself. In addition, I reared three toddlers safely to the challenge of teen age. I also have had refreshers on toddlers by being around my grandchildren.

What made this situation special was that when the mother passed beside my car to go behind me, as I thought that she would, she gave me the sweetest smile and said, “thank you.” That little bit of glowing thoughtfulness was worth all of the tolerance that I had afforded all of the jerks that I had encountered during the rest of the day.

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