I mentioned in my last post a story involving the mayor of the city of Bulverde. I had to give this story a little more attention, because, first, everybody loves a ridiculous local news story, and second, it is such a good illustration of what we've become as a society.
You can follow the link above to get the full story, but here's a brief recap: The mayor wrote a letter in the local paper complaining about cyclists on the road. Apparently, he, in his big Dodge Ram, got stuck behind some riders. When they moved to the side to let him pass, he revved his engine. They followed him to his destination, tapped on his window and they shouted back and forth for a little while. The aggravated mayor then wrote the letter, telling cyclists that they are "endangering" motorists.
Although I want to focus on the character issues involved in this little altercation, I just can't help commenting on the ludicrous nature of his complaint. I'm thinking that if there's a tangle between a motorist surrounded by 2 tons of steel and a cyclist surrounded by...air...and a styrofoam helmet, the motorist won't be much endangered. I'm just saying.
Now, with that off my chest, on to the real heart of the matter.
We can't wait for anything anymore. "I've been in line for six minutes; what is taking that cashier so long?" "I texted her two minutes (seconds) ago. She must have lost her phone." "Stupid red light!"
Certainly in another time and place, people were not obsessed with losing a minute here and there. There was a time, believe it or not, when messages took months to deliver, and humans existed without watches. Time was estimated by the sun and exact calculations were impossible. I wonder if the inventor of the first minute by minute time-keeping device knew he was changing the very core of human behavior.
Plus, the technology we have today creates a "now" addiction. We should get everything instantly, and it ought to be tailored for our unique preferences. And, the more that's reinforced, the more self-centered we become. Because that is, after all, what it's all about, right? Self-centeredness. Nothing and no one should ever come between us and our goal. The mayor was going somewhere! How dare those cyclists in their "expensive riding attire" out "joyriding" get in his way!
The interesting thing about this story is that the riders were able to follow him to his destination. Now, adrenaline may have made them a little more speedy than usual, but still, if they caught up to him in the parking lot, the mayor couldn't have been going far. Think about it: all that anger over just a few seconds. That can't be good for his health, and similar reactions most definitely aren't good for ours.
It's not a big deal. That's what we need to say a lot more often. Most of what makes us hopping mad is really no big deal in the grand scheme of things. A little patience and a little humility would do all of us some good. After all, sometimes we're the ones holding up the line.
And, whatever you do, if you lose your temper, try not to publish it in the newspaper.