Everyday my commute to work promises me the perpetual pleasure of having to turn left into rush hour traffic that backs up at a light about a half-mile down. It’s pretty shitty. Last week I waited at the end of my road, with my blinker on, for 7 minutes. S-E-V-E-N. My being on time lies in the hands of strangers letting you into a long line of waiting traffic, that is, IF the oncoming traffic is clear (which is seldom the case). But, ultimately, someone lets you pull out into the line. And because that usually happens (when usually is not the case, the resulting scenario generally entails some kind of death-defying Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift maneuver, which I have pretty much perfected), I tend to let people into traffic ahead of me. I know, I know, how kind, you’re thinking. This is still all very new for me, being from the motherland of ignorant and impatient drivers, so don’t go thinking I’ll let you try to cut me off and NOT run you off the road. Deep down, I’m still a New Yorker.
ANYWAY – I’ve started my own version of passing on the kindness or paying it forward or however you want to refer to it, via my commute to work. I don’t volunteer anywhere or make charitable donations (unless Goodwill counts? But we all know that’s just us getting our crap out of the house, let’s be real), but lately I’ve started to recycle and compost and have had a few opportunities to help others out with things like setting up events and needing rides and borrowing things, and something about it is making me feel really positive, despite my occasional road rage.
So even though I’ve spent fifteen minutes waiting to get that half-mile to the light, I always make it a point to let at least one person out in front of me, because chances are they’ve been waiting as long as I have. I guess there are people that always have practiced this but it’s sort of new for me and it makes me feel good – 99% of the time the people make a big effort to wave or thank you somehow and most of the time you travel with that person for a good portion of the remainder of your commute.
I’d like to think I started a chain reaction the other day. The person that I let out had let someone else out, and then a few roads down, the person that they let out had let someone else out. And I wondered if I had never let that guy out to begin with, would it have never happened? Did everyone pick up the positive vibes together on the way to work? Was I the last straw of that guy’s patience before he pulled a Tokyo Drift, but came to the rescue and let him out and saved his day? Perhaps I’m getting a little carried away about it, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can prevent Tokyo Drift type situations and not even know it.
While my example is via my commute to work, this can happen anywhere. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change. You can make it a normal part of your everyday grind, or you can do it once a week (whatever “it” is for you). If everyone woke up and decided, “Today I’m going to be as fucking awesome as possible,” do you think we would notice a shift in the midst? Tomorrow, wake up and be as ridiculously awesome as possible. And pass it on. Try it again the next day too. And stay tuned for the follow-up blog post on why being awesome is so awesome (seriously).