There is this road by my house called the Jamaicaway or J-way as the locals call it. It’s a narrow, four-lane, undivided parkway that most people drive on as if it was the track at the Indy 500. It is hilly with a ton of twists and turns and I’ve known more that a few people that have lost rearview mirrors or hubcaps in the fray of everyone trying to get from point A to point B asquicklyaspossible. It’s part of my daily commute to work. Good times.
There is a particular light on the J-way that you can make a left turn at UNLESS it is between the hours of 7am-9am or 4pm-6pm. Now the sign that tells you this information is on the far right side of the 2 lanes and quite weathered. Basically you need to have learned about it through folklore and legend passed down through many generations of your family.
As I am not from around here originally, my genetics did not come programmed automatically knowing this information. So the first time I went to make a left-hand turn at this light you can imagine the kindness of the Boston drivers behind me. It involved a lot of honking, screaming, name-calling, mom-bashing, etc. etc. I was SO MAD that these people were SO MAD because I had no idea why they were SO MAD. What was wrong with these drivers?! They’re all terrible, terrible jerks!
Eventually I became enough of a local that someone clued me in about the left-hand turn rule at that light. Once I had that information guess who I became? You got it. With the hours of left-hand turn allowance branded into my brain, I was happy to lay on my horn whenever someone tried to turn there even if it was 7:02 am. CAN’T YOU READ THE SIGN?!
It’s funny what happens when we know better.
We get upset when people don’t understand our opinion. Or our sexuality. Or our choice in exercise. Or our clothes. Or the foods we eat. Or the way we express ourselves.
They should KNOW BETTER, how DARE they not understand me automatically, it’s COMMON SENSE!
Sometimes it is common sense, but most times it’s like that darn left-hand turn. It’s not that people always want to be ignorant, sometimes they don’t KNOW they are missing information. If we try to force it on them by screaming and calling them names, it’s really difficult to hear the message and creates a bigger divide of judgement.
Remember a time in your life when you didn’t have all the answers and someone gently clued you in? It’s not always what you say but how you say it.
Have some compassion. It’ll make your commute through life much more pleasant.