This morning as I walked, I was witness to an instance of road rage. A man in a van, honking. Smashing the heel of his hand into his steering wheel. Pounding his fists on the dash. Yelling.
The air inside the van was finally too full to contain the tinder-dry rage and he opened his window to let it out. And out it came.
Everything–all of it venomous–all directed at one lady in a small blue car who misjudged the traffic light change and the line of vehicles ahead of her and wound up in the middle of the intersection preventing the van from pulling out.
The lady, wisely, stared straight ahead, not acknowledging the tantrum. Much the way, I’m guessing, she would refuse to acknowledge the tantrums of her preadolescent. But an adult male having a tantrum is a frightful thing.
I walked between the van and the car with some misgiving. The green stream carried on and finally tapered off a red light interval later. The intersection cleared and the van pulled away and left me wondering what this added and took away from his day.
What it is that sets us off?
Last evening over supper my son Mark told us about a construction site supervisor who perpetually speaks with a raised voice. It’s like he’s in a perpetual argument. Anger subsiding only in sleep. And perhaps not even then.
We are an angry bunch. This is an angry generation. We seethe. We hate spasmodically. We have scorn seizures. We curse within and we murmur audibly and beneath our breath.
We mouth breath in short gulps, the oxygen only reaching the top of our lungs, and the bile stays in our blood.
We conceal most of it, but occasionally–for some more often–it catches us in an instant and we find ourselves in the grip of an incendiary fit. The place for healthy venting having been lost.
Our desires twist us around their fingers. Our communal experiences are shallow. Violence is contagious, air-born, even recreational.
We have few models to counter all this. Certainly, for example, none in parliament. Question period produces enraged doubles. Everyone mirroring and mimicking each other–the object of debate being the debate. Any real dialogue is swallowed up and the issues long forgotten. We need to find our models beyond our "leaders."
We need refuge from our fear. We need a fortress from our miserly desires. Better, we need a mercy-light, and we need a love-light, held for us by someone with no axe to grind and nothing to prove.
We need to receive our lives back through a renewing of our desires…a reordering of desire through the eyes of someone without envy or rivalry. We need to open ourselves to someone with lots of time to wait at intersections.