So I was driving the kids to camp this morning – my two, plus another girl that we carpool with. The drive is long and maddening, a route filled with double (and occasionally triple) parked cars, buses, dollar vans, completely nutty livery cab drivers, encroaching pedestrians waiting to cross the street, and bikes who don’t have a lane so they take whichever one they can grab. It’s forty-five minutes (if traffic is good) each way of lane changing and avoidance and white knuckles, and that’s on a good, routine day. Not like two days ago, when we were held up for twenty minutes because just ahead of us a parked car pretty much lost its door to a passing bus. Or the day before that, when I discovered that my car’s air conditioning wasn’t working (it was 95 degrees).
Today was going fine, and then a guy almost ran me into oncoming traffic trying to avoid a double-parked van. I was driving along in my lane on the left, and he was next to me on the right, and all of a sudden he was changing lanes right into me. I slammed on the brakes and the horn, all three kids screamed, and this guy slipped just in front of me. I’m pretty sure I let out a string of expletives while it was happening, but I’m not sure. Hopefully the kids were screaming too loud to hear me. Thanks to the guy behind me paying attention I didn’t get rear-ended.
So all of that would have been bad enough, but honestly not all that unusual for driving in Brooklyn. It was what the guy did next that got my blood boiling. He – with nothing in front of him and still very close in front of me, since I was still trying to avoid getting hit from behind if I stopped completely – slammed on the brakes so that he could yell at me and give me the finger and shake his fist. I slammed on the brakes so hard that the anti-lock brakes engaged, and I missed hitting this guy by about an inch. All so that he could aim his anger at me for a situation that had been his fault.
I laid on the horn some more and he got going. He was in front of me for a few more blocks and it took everything I had not to pull up next to him at the traffic lights and call him every name in the book. But that would have been about the dumbest thing I could have done. The guy’s behavior had already clued me in to the fact that he was unhinged. Plus, I had three kids in the car that I’d be putting in danger. Plus, I’d be setting a terrible example for them, especially for my son. Plus, I can’t claim to be better than people like this guy if I act like this guy.
In a situation like that, the only thing that gets me breathing normally again is my belief in karma. Not the traditional karma, where God decides what happens to you based on your actions, but more of a man-made karma. That you shape what happens to you based on how you live your life, how you treat others. I don’t have ulcers because I really believe that something bad will happen to that guy because of how he acted today.
If you ask my kids what karma means, they’ll both say “Do good things and good things will happen to you.” I don’t dwell on the other part with them, the part that gets me through the day: do bad things and you’ll get what’s coming to you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday. So I don’t get myself into trouble yelling at this guy and making him madder. I sit back and let it go, knowing that someday he’ll get what’s coming to him.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage.