I was driving to work, one morning, feeling all caffeinated go-getter and ready to get on with it, when another driver who must’ve been feeling even more deadline driven and eager to get to work cut me off. Tempted to show off my perfectly manicured middle finger, I settled, instead, for muttering, “Asshole!” under my breath. I immediately remembered the day, many years earlier, when I’d done the same after a car nearly clipped me coming out of a parking lot and my daughter – her tender ears far too young to hear her mother utter such language, said, “Mom, you realize you just called my third grade teacher an asshole?”

I looked around and smiled sheepishly at the other drivers, checking to be sure none of them was having a moment of psychic clarity in which they’d overheard me.

In that moment, I realized something. Maybe not today, or tomorrow – but some day, and certainly on more than one occasion, I would be somebody else’s, “Asshole!” Fair enough. I try to remember that, when I catch myself angrily muttering about others in my impatience. Sure, they’re behaving like drunken cattle. Today. Right now. But in another hour or two, they may have their fingers inside someone’s chest cavity, jump starting a failing heart. Impatience is my cross to bear; it will, I’m convinced, lead me to put down deep roots and grow 47 arms on a windy hillside in my next life.

WP_20130608_009One morning, one of the ubiquitous wreckers that haunt the main road near my house cut in front of me to turn right – from the center lane. You can bet I cursed him, and regretted, later, that I’d been too stunned even to remember which company he was with, so I could report him for reckless driving. But last June, after being broadsided on that same road by a GMC Sierra, I was singing a different tune – all those “vultures,” as I’d occasionally thought of them – showed up en masse, gave me antibiotics and bandages for the teeny-tiny boo-boo on my elbow that wouldn’t stop bleeding, after flying glass from the passenger door rained on me sideways like a hurricane. They closed ranks around me when they thought the driver who hit me might be losing his cool. I admitted to them the uncharitable thoughts I’d had in the past, and thanked them for being there. They laughed. They know they’re assholes, sometimes, but they like helping people, too. They love their jobs.

So spare a kind thought or prayer for me, if you catch me muttering, “Asshole!” or being one, and I’ll apologize in advance for my failures and try to think kindly thoughts your way if you cut me off in traffic on your way to saving a life.



Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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17 thoughts on “Epiphany”

  1. There’s like 8 tow trucks for each disabled vehicle in our area. They bag ’em and tag ’em pretty quick around here! So thats a good thing.

    1. LOL!! We do. I think being aware that we do is the first step towards working off the bad karma. (Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking…) Thanks, Debbie – I was really terrified at the time. I won’t say my life flashed before my eyes, because it didn’t. But it was one of two times in my life that I had the fleeting thought that I was already dead, and then realized, “Nope. Not today.” The first time was the time I grabbed hold of a three-prong plug with sweaty hands – before it got done making contact with the wall outlet. Bruised ribs were a small price to pay for the shoulder belt doing its job. Fortunately, it happened very close to home, and when I called my husband to tell him that I was okay, but would be running late, he was there within about 5 minutes.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…EpiphanyMy Profile

  2. I learned why discretion is the better part of valour when confronted with bad drivers many years ago in an unusual way.

    In a hurry to get from my office to a sports club where I would be late to coach my son’s soccer team, I was trying to squeeze my fast, medium size car into a too small gap in the off ramp lane behind a blue VW Golf.

    Muttering about stupid women drivers who could not travel at a decent speed, I flashed my lights to get her to hurry up.

    Only when the woman driving the golf looked up into the inside rear view mirror and I saw the look of fear on her face, did I realise it was my wife.

    She had been looking in the side mirror, quietly cursing the idiot male driver who seemed about to force her off the road.

    Believe me it took a long time to get forgiven for that error of judgement.
    Peter Wright recently posted…Getting the Right Work Life Balance for an Extraordinary LifeMy Profile

    1. ROFL!! That’s priceless, Peter!! Fortunately, no one gave in to road rage, or it might have been tragic instead of funny. I trust you both made it to the soccer game on time?

      Reminds me of the time when I was quite pregnant, hyped on hormones, and feeling very irritable. Something my husband said just got on my last nerve. I was standing completely naked inside the closet, and flipped him off. It was completely uncharacteristic, believe me – it was rather like a child sticking a tongue out at a parent behind the parent’s back. He had his back turned, tying his tie – I’d momentarily Forgotten that the wall behind the bed in our rental house was mirrored, and of course he saw me. I was appalled and instantly ashamed of myself, well aware he didn’t deserve it and I looked completely stupid. Fortunately for both of us, he just burst out laughing, turned around, and gave me a hug. Not one of my finer moments, but kind of hilarious now.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…EpiphanyMy Profile

    1. Now there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day. 😉 I remember a time back in the 1980s when I thought it ought to be banned, but given the buzzword bingo round the office nowadays, “paradigm shift” has a certain retro charm. I think it was just a week or so ago that I was advocating for its return, and there you’ve used it on my blog! Thank you, Guilie! Glad you enjoyed the post.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…EpiphanyMy Profile

  3. Hi, Yeah, I don’t use the epithets, just feel like it sometimes. In my nearly 50 years of driving, I’ve seen lots of things and been in a few dustups, but only one serious accident the first year of driving. Thanks for the humorous read. Best Regards. Have you stopped writing in the Challenge? I hope not.
    Ruby Young recently posted…Hit ManMy Profile

    1. I generally only use them in my car. I usually drive solo, so it’s hard to break bad habits like cursing other drivers, just because I have a passenger or two.

      And no, I haven’t stopped. I just need to play catch-up, here. Work’s been busy and challenging (to the point, some nights, where I go stretch out on the bed to be entertained by something on the DVR, only to fall asleep around 8:30 or 9:00 PM!) and I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a new children’s book that’s about ready for release… I’m not going to beat myself up over falling a day or two behind in the Challenge! But thanks for asking – I hope you’ve signed up to get alerts when I start catching up again, Ruby!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…EpiphanyMy Profile

  4. I had an odd moment this morning when I sat at a light, and continued to sit after the light turned green. I don’t know what I was thinking about, but I was so grateful that the person behind me didn’t honk. He (or she) just waited patiently until I pulled my conscious mind back into my body and drove on.
    Patricia Stoltey recently posted…A to Z Challenge: H is for Hayide (and Victoria Hanley and The Heart of Darkness Club by Gary Reilly)My Profile

    1. Ohh, that was YOU? Hahahaha…no, I do that, too, and sometimes I’m actually more grateful for a gentle honk. And sometimes I’m the one sitting behind that driver, going, “I hate to honk and startle you, but the six people behind me seem to be in more of a hurry, so…[honk] Hope that was less angry-sounding than they look!”

      Have you noticed, lately, that distracted driving is getting worse, not better? Like, EPIDEMIC. To the point where every day feels like “It’s GOT to be a full moon, right? No?”

      I do have to admit to perfecting the “WTF?” gesture (a sudden raising of the hands into the air, along with a pointedly confused expression normally reserved for observation of acts of complete idiocy), and using it, occasionally, to communicate what doesn’t quite merit a middle finger. Like when people try to turn left when going north at my intersection, blocking my way and creating a hazard for a road that doesn’t exist (there is NO LEFT THERE, but that doesn’t stop someone from trying, at least once a week). When they finally get an opening to do it, and suddenly realize there’s no road, no driveway, and no option but to go straight or do a U-turn or hit me head on, it’s a 50/50 chance they’ll angrily pull to their right, narrowly miss me, and continue north. Which, I think, merits the “WTF?”
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…EpiphanyMy Profile

  5. Once many aeons ago I was driving on a busy road and a man in a white pick up truck veered into my lane nearly side swiping me. I had nowhere to go as there were cars all around me. I muttered some obscentiy and continued on my way pulling up alongside him at the next intersection. I looked over to give him “the glare” and realized that the driver was actually drinking a BEER! Well that absolutely infuriated me so I yelled “You DICK!” and flipped him the bird. Now I’d like to say that I’m a lady and that this was uncharacteristic behavior but I would not want to be struck by lightening so suffice it to say it was not at least a daily occurrence.

    As the light changed to green and I proceeded I heard a snicker from the back seat where my very impressionable seven year old daughter was sitting. Now mind you I did not necessarily forget she was back there as my reaction was in large part due to the fact that if – God forbid – this gigantic idiot would have actually hit my car it would have been on her side. I asked my little snickerer what was so funny hoping that she had perhaps seen a clown or something on the side of the road and she shouted with glee “MOMMY YOU SAID DICK!” which of course was exactly what had happened. So, never one to pass up an opportunity for a teaching moment, this became our first lesson in “do what Mommy says not what Mommy does.” I’m pretty sure the lesson didn’t stick because I’ve since ridden with my daughter and she knows words I’ve never even heard of. Knowing even then that the lesson was probably not going to supersede what Mommy did I could only hope, as I had in the past and would again many times in the future, that she would not repeat it to anyone else.

    Well as luck would have it we were headed to see Grandpa who was my daughter’s very favorite person in the world. Upon arrival Anne Marie ran to give him a hug and said loudly and clearly “Grandpa Mommy said DICK!” and immediately dissolved into a pile of giggles on the couch next to him. Being my father’s daughter of course I said “Well he was drinking a beer and he nearly side swiped us” to which my father responded with a knowing nod and a wink of his eye while at the same time saying to the little person wiggling around beside him “Shame on Mommy!” Man I miss him.
    Mary recently posted…Random thoughts ….My Profile

  6. I’m not likely to meet you on the road but I’m glad we could connect on the internet. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Holly. I love your visual media kit on your about page.

    1. You never know… I’ve met many online friends, over the years, that I never would have imagined meeting face to face, but did – sometimes 20 years later, but I’d never rule it out, this idea of meeting on the road. Or, more likely, a coffee shop. 🙂 And thanks for the kind words on that visual media kit – my manager and I had a good laugh over it (I sent her a link to the page after I wrote how she was tormenting me!) It was actually fun to put together, so I thank her, now, for inspiring me to do it.

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