The strangest thing happened on the way back from the beach the other day. I witnessed the most shocking incident of road rage that I have ever seen. It all started out innocently enough with typical vehicle jockeying and flipping each other off. When we came to the red light, the Explorer in front of us stopped. A pickup truck with its occupants screaming obscenities rolled up next to it on the left. Then, in a flash of repulsiveness, a scary, mean looking woman jumped out of the truck, walked over to the Explorer, opened the door and started pounding on the driver! My friend opened her door to jump out of the car and I grabbed her. “Don’t get out of the car!” I heard myself screaming in a panic. My imagination had already pictured the scene rapidly escalating out of control. What if somebody has a gun in the glove box, you know? When the aggressor was done with her nastiness, she got back into the pickup, laughing. Laughing. And she was having quite the good time crowing about her “accomplishment”. I was horrified and stunned. My soothing day at the ocean was now infiltrated by the harsh reality of violence. My friend got out of the car to check on the driver. I stayed safely ensconced with my hand on my phone, poised for 911.
The whole scene was so upsetting. It shattered my serenity and ushered in a confusing mass of questions like: Wow, what makes someone think it’s okay to do something like that? Hmm, what kind of upbringing did this person suffer through to freely commit such a violent act on a stranger? What makes it okay to put your hands on another person? Is violence becoming so ingrained in our everyday groove that we don’t even notice? Do we now think we have permission to put our anger and violence on to other people?
And then I thought of the aggressor. I wondered really truly where she had been to arrive at such a place. As I am currently meeting my own demons head on, I am becoming more aware of the slippery slope of acting out. As far as I can tell the anger and frustration born out of life’s previous troubles bursts out of you and onto someone else—an uninvolved, unsuspecting someone else who doesn’t even deserve it. They may not even have known you then, if they even know you at all. Thus, anger and violence is passed on, only to be absorbed and passed on again, person to person, like the flu. And soon, already I think, it gets buried in each and every one of us. And there it is. And there she was, jumping out of that truck. She landed eight punches on a total stranger, with an audience I might add, and then danced back to her ride like she had just won the lottery. I felt sorry for her. She was obviously on a painful, misguided path. She beat on someone and then laughed about it. That is the energy she must have received and so that is the energy she is putting out. Therefore, that energy shall return to her. It is a slow, sad circle, twirling and twirling about, destined to repeat until we make it stop.