Monday, March 24, 2008

Do the right thing

We were driving home from taking Tess' mother out to Easter brunch in Olympia (a city about an hour and a half north of Seattle). It was pouring rain and traffic sucked. But then again traffic always sucks around here. I was driving in the HOV lane on Interstate 5. It is a lane reserved for cars with two or more passengers. And although it is the left hand lane on the freeway, it is not the fast lane.

I was driving the speed limit. Okay maybe 65 tops, but basically around the speed limit. A car whips up behind me. Then it pulls into the lane next to the HOV lane, passes me and whips back into the HOV lane in front of me. Then the driver deliberately and very plainly flips me the finger. Yes, he flashes me the bird, the nasty digit, the ultimate sign of disdain. And it is merely because I wasn't speeding in the carpool lane.

I had my wife and daughter in the backseat. The weather sucked. I was doing the right thing. And this piece of shit flips me the finger and speeds off into the distance like the frigging lowlife coward he is.

My parents taught me to do the right thing. I don't litter. I use my turn signal. I obey speed limits. I wear my seat belt. I return shopping carts to the cart return. I let people into the lane in front of me (when they signal). I don't walk against the "don't walk" signal. I brake for squirrels. I put the toilet seat down. I do the right thing. I believe doing the right thing defines a civilization. Flipping someone off for doing the right thing destroys a civilization.

It is not that I am a slave to foolish regulations. I step over lines in places that tell you to wait behind the line until called. I don't always color within the lines. But these are not laws that create order. Speed limits and traffic signals do.

I will teach my children to do the right thing, too. I will instill in them that it is selfish and a sign of poor character to think that laws apply to everyone but you. I will teach them to be civilized.

As for the piece of trash that flipped me off in the HOV lane...well, may the next car you flip off be an unmarked police car driven by someone who believes in doing the right thing, too.


R. said...

What a bizarre reason to flip someone off.

Nothing to get upset about though. Remember the addage: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me." Or maybe it was "trunk mounted guided missiles with a picture of Darwin painted on the warhead excite me." I can't remember.

Mikey said...

I'm not going to jump up on the soapbox here, but it seems to me like doing the right thing is just not "in style" anymore. If you're not going to get paid to do it, what's the point of being a good person?
With your wife and child in the car you let it go, and that's the right thing. But if you and I are in the car, we'll chase that f***er down and beat him to death with pipe cleaners!

Time said...

It was the principle of the thing that pissed me off the most.

Yeah, that really would be the right thing to do :)