Random Thoughts About Fear and Anger

Many years ago, I was driving in West L.A. on the 10 freeway heading west to Santa Monica. A driver in an SUV cut me off and it was all I could do to hit the brakes and move over slightly to avoid an accident. I laid on my horn and the driver who had caused the near miss, now directly in front of me, flipped me the bird.

There was something so unfair about the action of the other driver that it pushed my level of anger over the edge in a heartbeat. Bang, from happy to angry in less than a second. I flipped the bird back and followed the driver over the course of the next few miles, matching every lane change, until the person in the SUV didn’t respond and took an exit. I decided not to pursue it because it would’ve escalated in a bad way.

What would I hope to prove if I had a confrontation with the other driver? Did I have to prove I was right? How do you prove that to a person who blames you for their actions? The same person who was the catalyst for the situation and your reaction. How did we see the situation so differently?

In hindsight, I should have given the SUV a pass – just hits the brakes without adding the horn. Now when I get cut off, I hold back and don’t respond. I guess that’s a sign of maturity. But it feels like fear and does nothing to make the anger go away. The anger stays forever.