See, I've been thinking about hellos and goodbyes a lot recently. This led me to think about the nights I would be driving to and from work on the highway. Some nights, the traffic was light. Others not so much. As a writer, my mind drifts to the people I'm sharing the road with. The couple who are arguing while driving somewhere with their kids. The gorgeous man who races past me on his motorcycle. The single woman with insane colors in her hair, dancing and singing in her truck. (Okay, that one is me, but I'm sure people think I'm nuts.)What are these people's stories?
We've all raged at the drivers who fly past us as if they're the only ones on the road. However, have you ever thought about why they're in a hurry? Maybe they are on the way to the hospital because a loved one was in an accident. Maybe there's been a death. Maybe they're on their way to the airport to greet a loved one who has been away. Even the slow drivers have a story. I'm not saying these are excuses for reckless driving, but how would you feel if your spouse or child was returning after being at war? Would you drive calmly with no hint of excitement? Or would you unconsciously lower the gas pedal to the floor in your haste to get them in your arms again? I know my answer.
I find myself doing the same thing in the store. Doesn't mean I don't get frustrated, just means I wonder about people's stories. What is in the text message that made that woman smile so brightly? What did that woman whisper to her man that has him walking off with a smirk on his face? What is so wrong with their relationship that a man is calling his wife names? I'm an odd duck that way.
My grandma used to take a drive into town (when she still drove) and she would park on Main Street to watch the people. I used to think she was nosy, but that wasn't it at all. She simply wondered about their stories.
So, the next time you get cut off in traffic or you see a frazzled person who is barely keeping it together, think for a moment: I wonder what is happening in their life. I'm not saying there aren't assholes everywhere, but not everyone is covered under that umbrella. That woman who is crying at the stoplight may have just kissed her husband/boyfriend/partner goodbye and she's not sure when/if she'll see them again...or she may have heard a sad song on the radio that triggered her emotions. And if you see that she has crazy colors in her hair AND you're in Wisconsin...roll your window down and say "Hi!" I'm not crazy, I promise...my mama had me tested!