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Oct 25, 2007

Yeah, I know, strange title!  Let me clarify it a little.  This entry is a rant about people who just HAVE to be first for everything, even to the point of risking their own or others' lives.  I'd much rather reach my destination ALIVE than FIRST!

I drive to work on a stretch of highway where the speed limit is 65.  I usually run about 68-70, I won't lie.  But all the way to town I am being passed by people who are doing 85 if they're doing a mile!  What's the big freakin' rush?  Even if they are headed to the same spot I am, they might beat me by a second or two, what an accomplishment.  Plus the fact that once we hit town and the traffic lights start, I'm gonna catch back up to them by default anyway!

When I get a couple of blocks from my office, the south-bound two lanes of traffic narrow to one lane.  There are signs announcing this well ahead of the actual spot where the left lane disappears, and there is nothing to obstruct the view of a gradually merging lane.  There will be at least two people who obviously think that if they have to merge BEHIND another car, they will die, so they do everything but run the rest of us off the road in their passion to merge at the last minute and be first in the line of cars.  How much time are they going to save if they hit another car and have to go through the accident reporting procedures??

At lunch, if I dare to venture out on the road at all, I always end up in a line of "inchers".  These are the brain-dead folks who are convinced that by inching their car forward every few seconds, they're going to get their green light sooner.  I actually got honked at once for not "inching up" like everyone else!  This guy behind me was in a REAL hurry, and my few inches that I could move up were obviously VERY important to him!  Then there are the 3 or 4 cars that fly through the traffic light just AFTER it turns red; I am at the point where I NEVER go on my green light until I make sure I'm not gonna get smashed into!

It isn't just in cars that I see this disturbing trend.  There is a really bad "me first" attitude out in the world right now.  People will push you out of the way to reach a greeting card.  They think nothing of "racing" you to a checkout lane, or if they (god forbid!) have to be behind you, they'll hover against your back so close they're almost sharing your clothes!  The words "Excuse me" have all but disappeared from our vocabulary.  One of my co-workers will NOT let you finish one sentence without interrupting to tell HER story.

I find myself getting sucked into this "rush-rush" mindset occasionally, and it bothers me when I realize I'm doing it.  I don't want to act like them.  I don't want to come across as a rude, inconsiderate person, someone who just cannot wait their turn.  But apparently, this doesn't bother most people, because I see it more and more everyday.

I want to be calm, confident that nothing bad is going to happen to me if I let someone with one item go ahead of me in the grocery line, or if I motion for a pedestrian to go before I do, or if I say "excuse me" or "thank you" or "please".

These hurry-up people are missing out on so much.  In their relentless pursuit of first place, they don't see the scenery around them, the toddler joyfully bouncing in the shopping cart, the maple tree on the corner that is turning fiery shades of red and gold, and so many other things.  I keep thinking of an incident where I was in a department store working my way through a crowded aisle.  Ahead of me was an older lady in a motorized wheelchair, trying to reach an item that was just beyond her fingertips.  No one took the time to help her, they just scowled at her because her chair was in their way.  When I got close enough, I handed her the item she was after, and her face lit up like the sun and she gave me the sweetest smile and thanked me so sincerely!  It was a little blessing to me that put me in a better mood the rest of that day, but I felt a little sorry for the other people who passed her by and missed seeing that little lady's radiant face!

  So to all those people speeding through life and (maybe literally!) dying to be first in line for everything, I say, "Slow down, just a little.  Look around you.  I promise you will see something in your surroundings that you never noticed before!  Oh, and studies have proven that no one ever died from just being second in the line!"
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday October 25, 2007, 2:07 pm
Tags: society rant soapbox manners slowdown [add/edit tags]

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Lisa Ivey
female, age 50, married
Columbus, MS, USA
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