Was driving a few weeks back – a bit of a rush (aren’t we all) and was trying to speed up to the extent possible. Managed to get into the fast lane – oh yes – should be good now. Suddenly I noticed that the fast lane was actually slower than the lanes on the right and slowly people were moving out to the right and driving past. As I approached further, the cause of the slowdown came to light.
A car ahead in the fast lane was moving like a turtle and not giving way in spite of people honking leading to people moving out and staring at the driver. I too was to follow the ritual of the honk, when I noticed a small sticker on the car’s rear!
“Physically challenged; Please be patient.”
And that changed everything!! I went calm, slowed down and just kept my distance until such time I could and then as I approached my exit, moved on. As I passed the car, saw a man probably in his 60’s, both hands clenched on the wheel, concentrating on the road and driving as if there existed no one else and no tomorrow. I was a few minutes late, that was fine, but could not help wondering during the day.
What if there was no sticker? What if there was no sign? What if it was not an elderly person? What if… It also struck as an afterthought – Why did I need a sticker to be patient and calm?
We see labels all around us daily – “Baby on Board”, “School Zone”, “New Mom”, “Senior citizen driving”, “New Driver”… and that changes our attitude. We either accept them, some see them with contempt & wonder why these people are on the roads and why they don’t stay home. Why are we not patient daily in life with people around us? Why do we tend to lose our cool at the slightest instance? Do we need labels to drive our attitudes and perceptions and determine if we are to have a good day or a bad one?
The world is full of people fighting battles – A job loss, failing an exam, getting rejected on job interviews, fighting a disease, going through marriage problems, a death of loved one, financial issues…. All of them despite their battles, continue to live, they have to and they are part of society. We too are pre occupied with our problems in life and we expect others to understand or snap at some one for no reason who does not know, yet we have zero patience with others who may be going through similar situations. Some fight through, some hide away and the not so lucky ones, who lose the battle, choose to end their lives.
Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about, as people don’t know our battles. The common thing is – none of us wear a label about it.
The world would indeed be a softer place, if all respected life’s labels. A matter of choice. Ours!
Thanks Roshni for the thought