I’m driving toward the 280 and pass by a driver (compact blue car) yelling at another driver (monster grey truck). Blue is yelling because, although signaling for a right turn, Monster is cutting ahead of him, blocking Blue’s view of oncoming traffic. “That’s messed up” I think as I pass by the confrontation. I drive, come to stop and wait to make a right turn. I glance at my rearview mirror. Blue and Monster are slowly approaching. “Woah. Monster is really close to Blue’s back end.” I didn’t know that, over the next five minutes, I would witness a car-to-car battle royal on the streets of San Francisco.
Monster did not take likely to the verbal assault from Blue. Tailgating the compact car, Monster bellowed with it’s diesel horn for seven seconds. Blue threw up his hands, expressing “What do you want!” Monster did not like that either and inched forward, it’s chrome grill engulfing the back end of the compact car.
I turned right and drove, hoping to put some distance between me and the other two vehicles. However, Blue accelerated, caught up, and was right on my bumper. “Why is he on me…. oh, he’s running!” Monster was right on Blue’s bumper. Blue began to bob and weave between the two-lane road. Not to be outdone, Monster accelerated and cut between lanes, trying to maintain a five-foot distance between Blue’s back bumper and it’s front grill. “Calm down,” as both cars passed by me. They were coming close to hitting other cars.
We approached the 280 on-ramp and I expected the scuffle to blow over. To my surprise, not only did it continue, but Blue took the offensive. Going 60-65mph on the highway, Monster signaled and began changing lanes. Blue accelerated into the spot. Monster jolted back into his lane, avoiding a potential side-swipe. Blue gave a stare down, then accelerated down the highway. Stunned, Monster stayed in his lane for one second and revved the large engine. Like a tank, Monster roared in pursuit of Blue.
“They’re going to cause an accident.” I felt something deep inside growing. The feeling compelled me to intercede. I’m not sure what you would call it. If you’ve ever seen the movie Blind Side, it’s that thing. I’m a very calm, patient, and quiet person. But, deep down, I have a protective side, which only surfaces when I see someone being mistreated or it’s an emergency (like a car accident or fire.)
My concern was the other innocent drivers and – as I witnessed Blue and Monster wage war on the highway – I felt my demeanor switching to the Blind Side. I needed to intercede. My thought was a flash and, like a computer processing millions of instructions, I concluded that I would hang back. By this time, both were about 100 yards in front of me. If anything happened, I would serve as a witness.
The three of us sped toward the 101 interchange, where there are many off-ramps and merges. I took the left route. Blue and Monster – bumper to bumper going 60 mph – took the right. I kept my gaze on both of them until they were out of sight.
I refocused on the road ahead of me, letting the Blind Side melt away.
Moral of the Story: When you’re driven, use that passion for the greater good.
My Blind Side has always been with me. And, as I have matured, my Blind Side has manifested into a driving force to help others. If I wasn’t in teaching, I might have pursued a career as a doctor, firefighter or police officer. I might do graphic design and video works for non-profits. The emotion comes up in other situations, like what happened on the freeway today (putting myself in the middle to diffuse Blue and Monster, protecting other drivers. Obviously, not my place, but that’s what’s going through my head.)
I guess what I’m saying is that, I could use my Blind Side to drive around town as “Road Rage Police.” Or, I could focus my energy on a cause and attempt to make a difference. Like, when I safely made it to tonight’s meeting, met with other ECE professionals, and participated in meaningful conversations. I think most of us have a driving force, a Blind Side that can serve others. The question is this: what do you do with it?