Remember those car signs that alert drivers around you that there is a "Baby on Board"? I had one when my daughter was a tiny little thing in her car seat. They probably still have them, but I don't see them as often as I used to. Anyway, I think the person who devised that particular product felt that it would proclaim "Precious cargo on board! Be careful around me!" And that's not a bad message.
But my reasoning was different. (Oh, great surprise, right?) Here's what I was thinking when I affixed that plastic suction cup to my back window: When I go around corners slower than you think I should, give me a little slack, OK? The kid is sleeping in her seat (she always fell asleep as soon as we backed out of the driveway) and I don't want her head to flop from side to side when I turn corners.
I thought about that sign last night as we tried to find our way to a hotel in a strange city. In my six decades (plus a few years), I have accrued many experiences in a plethora of situations....like driving a baby around a huge urban area in a moving container of flammable material, wishing that the guy behind me would be a bit more patient as I tried to protect the most precious thing in the world to me.
All of this life experience has given me lot more empathy for what might be happening to those around ME. Maybe that grouchy person in line in front of me lost her job yesterday. The distracted neighbor who normally speaks to me might have had a disagreement with his partner before leaving the house. Or the car in front of me who appears to be a little lost in the dark might be from out of town.
Last night the disembodied voice in the GPS took a coffee break just when we needed him most to get us to our hotel in a city 14 hours from home. It would be nice if the local folks driving behind and around us would take note of the out of state license tag and the tentative way the car was manuevering from lane to lane looking for the big green hotel sign. But no such luck. They wanted us out of the way, NOW! I guess people in unknown settings don't get any such breaks.
Experience is a great thing if it helps us move through life in a kinder, gentler way. Without getting run over ourselves.
“Life is just a chance to grow a soul.”