What will your pride cost you

What’s your biggest fear? Cars and other people. I realized this today. Some may say their biggest fear is being alone, but honestly that pales in comparison to me if you think about how important your life is to you. Yes, being alone would suck, but wouldn’t dying at the hand of someone else’s stupidity suck more? You have no power over your fate when you give others the right to drive you. You’re literally placing your life in their hands, and this is why other people and cars are my biggest fear. Let me explain by telling you a story from about thirty minutes ago from me writing this.

I’m in France, with a host family. I’m staying with my host brother that I’ve hosted for the last two summers. This summer, it is my turn to stay with his family. So far, this has been difficult, but rewarding. I’m learning more French than I knew when I got here, and I’m seeing amazing things (like the fireworks display I saw on the 14th of July). But along with these amazing things comes a tour guide, my host brother. He isn’t a problem. We get along like brother and sister. But, I’m getting sidetracked from the story. We’re in the car right now, on our way to a place in the north of France. The French who live in Paris don’t drive much, but trips are an exception, so we’re driving. Actually, the dad is driving. During the previous trips that we’ve taken so far this month, I’ve realized he has a problem with trailing the asses of other cars. Now, I know other people who do this, so I tried not to judge much, but let me paint you a picture of the situation we were just in.

We’re riding in the fast lane, going very fast. He trails the ass of this other man’s car (it was a grey car) who has passengers too. But both of them don’t want to budge. My host father doesn’t want to slow down, and this man isn’t changing lanes like most people tend to do. Not that he has to change lanes from intimidation, but it presents a challenge to the male ego when one doesn’t yield, so let’s continue with the story… The car in front starts slowing down a few kilometers per hour, my host father is maintains his speed with a led foot. My host mother is in the passenger seat and she presses her hand on the dash, as a human reaction of being scared of the speed. The car moves to the right. We continue for almost a minute, and then the car merges back in front of us. Both men are challenged by the grey car man initiating this challenge. My host father’s ego seems at stake, and the grey car man wants to challenge another man and have him back down. My host father motions something to him, I’m not sure what it was. Then, grey car man returns a proud middle finger and starts slowing down. As my host father gets closer and closer to the other car’s bumper he taps on the break when the grey car puts it’s breaks on. Now, at the point that it started getting increasingly stressful, he was going 130-140 kilometers per hour, trailing the car’s ass. There’s a tractor trailer in the right lane, and there are only two lanes. What’s at stake: two young college-bound girls (my sister and I) visiting from america, his college-bound son, his wife, and his 3 year old son. All of our reactions? I was pissed off that I was stuck in this situation. His wife, sobbing out of fear and begging him to slow down, he is continuing the speed and the trailing, their son is trying to reason with them to make his dad stop, the toddler is playfully kicking his legs in child-like bliss, my sister… I’m not really sure what she was doing since she’s behind me. I could’ve said stop in French or English. He has minimal English speaking skills, but as a given of our natural intuition as humans to understand tone, facial expressions, and body language I’m sure he would’ve gotten the point if I would’ve screamed “stop!” and gave a disapproving face, but I didn’t… Because I have two more weeks here and I didn’t want it to be awkward. But see, it still is awkward that I was even put in that situation, that his wife, son, and toddler were put in that situation. We didn’t have a choice but to remain in the car during this battle of pride.

I’m sorry, but if that list of people, if your wife’s scared pleas, and the fact that you’re driving someone else’s daughters doesn’t prevent you from trying to defend your pride at possibly the expense of all these lives in this car… Then you’ve already lost your pride.

Road rage is idiotic. If your ego can be threatened by a weak person who is just testing you, then you are being an even weaker person for giving into their tricks and teasing. Road rage kills innocent people, not at the hand of the car inflicting the road rage, but at the hand of the driver who is choosing how to respond to it. My respect has been lost for him.