I hate it! I really do! I am so frustrated at my lack of progress in my life. I realize that there is only one path—that being the one towards self-realization and Heaven—so I know I’m on the path, but I’m absolutely sure I am moving in the wrong direction. One can either move towards or away. And every time I allow myself a smidgen of a possibility, a twinkling of an idea that I may be progressing upwards on my path, I drive on the stupid Southern California freeways!
And I want to progress! I really do! I do not want to come back and be re-incarcerated all over again. I’d have to be a teenager again! Hormones! Acne! Algebra! And then there’s getting up the courage to talk to girls and there was this one time when I was trying to be so very cool and I didn’t realize my fly was—
Wait. Back to my point.
Back-sliding. Yes. Take one small step forward and two hundred back.
The genesis of my current bad mood arose the other day when I was on the 241 toll roads in Orange County. I paid a toll to have a quicker trip home. About two miles before the interchange with the 91-Eastbound, the traffic came to a stop. So I patiently waited. For 45 minutes. 45 minutes to go two miles! And I paid for the privilege!
OK, I wasn’t so patient. That’s my point. I grew more and more angry as I sat there and more and more jack-wagons flew past me in the lane for westbound traffic and then, at the last moment, darted into the lane far ahead of me, and jammed themselves into a space no bigger than a quarter-car-length. Not only did these dillweeds bypass all of those patiently waiting their turns, they caused our wait to be longer because they cut in, adding another car to our line, and their cutting in caused an ensuing cascade of brake lights back up the hill to bring to a halt any modicum of momentum we may have had.
I hated them. All of them. Each of them, individually and fully. God tells us to love one another. Jesus said to Love thy brother as thyself. I wanna see Jesus drive the SoCal Freeways. Wait. If I looked over and saw Jesus driving a Beemer I’d probably—
But that’s not the point. The point is I was losing my temper in near Biblical proportions and I was getting even angrier that I was letting it happen.
A Course in Miracles says that people are either acting with Love or calling out for Love. I think these jerks were actually calling out for a 2-by-4 upside their heads. And I knew just the guy who’d love to give it to them!
Of course, I realized immediately that I wasn’t sending out Love. I was sending out prayers for vengeance, which He will never answer. Yet, despite that realization, I prayed loudly that each of them would be stricken with hemorrhoids. And not the good kind of continually burning and itching hemorrhoids. I prayed for them each to get explosive hemorrhoids. And not the good kind of explosive hemorrhoids that could be easily repaired. I prayed for the kind of exploding hemorrhoids that would completely blow their butts off. But not right away. I prayed that they would each win a huge portion of the next Lottery and just as they were collecting their money, then their explosive hemorrhoids would detonate and blow their butts completely off and the medical expenses for their butt reattachment surgery would be the exact amount they won in the lottery. And then I prayed that the doctors who did the surgeries would do a poor job and reattach their butts crookedly and then they couldn’t get into Heaven because I don’t think St. Peter lets you in if you have a crooked butt. Even if you explain that you were covered by Obamacare and, despite his promise that you could keep your own insurance, you couldn’t…
And then I prayed that the morons who allowed these people to cut in the line at the last minute would get excruciatingly painful ingrown toenails. And not the good kind of excruciatingly painful ingrown toenails where you couldn’t walk, but the exploding kind of excruciatingly painful ingrown toenails. Furthermore I prayed that they would explode on their way to buy their Lottery tickets so they wouldn’t be able to make it to the store to buy them. And I prayed that they would have chosen the same winning numbers as the exploding hemorrhoid people but since they wouldn’t have been able to buy a ticket, they’d be as mad as I currently was while they let people in line in front of me and, with their exploded toes, they wouldn’t be able to drive anymore and get in front of me and let other jack-wagons cut in while I waited in traffic on the freeway.
I had over an hour to be all pissed off and think of these prayers.
So, once I finally got home, I cooled off a bit and felt bad that I’d lost it so dramatically and, for that matter, quite comically. It just plain isn’t good to lose one’s temper like that. Sitting there and hating on my (idiot) brothers for that hour really only hurt me.
That evening I spent a few hours greeting people who came to see the Christmas light display at our house. Their smiles and gratitude allowed me to see another side of human nature. I felt better, and fervently wished that these people weren’t some of those who passed by me on the toll road earlier in the evening. (I hoped I hadn’t previously cursed these nice people but I also didn’t really want anyone’s exploding hemorrhoids exploding in front of my house.)
But the bottom line here is that I wish I could stop myself from losing my cool so easily in traffic. I’m sure it is not helping me… And not loving my brother can’t possibly be good for me.
About a week later, I was down in South Orange County to visit my son. I was on my way to pick him up from college and I was approaching the freeway on-ramp. I glanced in my side mirror and saw a car, about ten car lengths back, cut out of the line to the left and speed up. I knew right away that he was going to try to jump ahead in our line. Having no time to think up a prayer for exploding any of his body parts or major organs, I did the next best thing. I made a slight increase to my crawling speed to close the gap between me and the car in front of me so that, if he tried to cut in front of me, his dastardly plan would be thwarted. I moved ahead, keeping my eyes mostly on my mirror and his approach and Huzzah! he was trying to cut in front and I didn’t allow him to do it! I foiled his evil plan! Take that, sucker! I watched as he was forced to continue on down the road and smiled as he half-changed lanes and then half-changed back; clearly trying to figure out what he’d have to do to get back onto his path.
With a triumphant grunt, I turned my eyes back to my lane and found myself still moving toward the vehicle in front of me. Which had stopped. I slammed on my brakes and narrowly averted a fender-bender. Inhaling deeply after dodging that near-calamity, I returned to my inner celebration and did as appropriate a happy dance as I could; bearing in mind that I was still driving. With a huge smile of satisfaction I accelerated onto the freeway only to suddenly realized that I’d been so preoccupied with thwarting the other guy’s malevolent plans, I forgot that I was supposed to be going the opposite direction on the freeway. Had I not been so intensely set on meting out justice, I would have had my mind on the fact that I needed to go opposite to my normal direction at this interchange.
So I had to go to the next off-ramp to the north and exit and get back on the freeway going south. Then the on-ramp at that street was on the opposite side than I’d anticipated and, due to heavy traffic, I was unable to cut across four lanes (like an idiot) and I missed it. So I had to drive down to the next street which forced me into a parking lot. So I had no choice but to enter a strip mall to turn around. Only that shopping center had limited points of egress and I spent about five minutes there—driving along with holiday shoppers who crept along searching for a parking spot—until I could find an exit. All-in-all, my little act of vengeance cost me about 15 minutes of extra driving time and I was late picking up my son.
Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you right on the head
You better get yourself together
Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead
What in the world you thinking of
Laughing in the face of love
What on earth you tryin’ to do
It’s up to you, yeah you
~ John Lennon
What do you do when you lose your temper? How do you feel afterwards?