An Opportunity

“The Gulf Stream” a 1899 oil painting by Winslow Homer

Since I woke this morning I have felt assaulted by the world. The radio news is about people doing inhuman things to each other. Taking Tess into the office this morning was just a long succession of getting passed, dangerously, on the right despite the fact that cruise control was set to 70 while driving in a 60. Even at the coffee shop humanity was doing its level best to provoke a negative response from me.

I didn’t recognize this until, while turning from Jackson onto 4th an angry bus driver directing six tons of carbonized steel and rubber laid waste to his horn because I was caught in an intersection, surrounded by pedestrians. In that moment of stress and transmitted anger I envisioned myself leaving the comfort and safety of my car, boarding the bus, and punching that asshat in the solar plexus. “Look around you fool,” I wanted to scream. Everyone is trying to get somewhere and we’re all having to wait on one another. In the intensity of the moment I was overcome by another’s rage.

I am no bodhisattva, but by the time I had reached the I-90 on-ramp, with the downtown bus riding my tail pipe the whole way, I had found my peace. That dude wasn’t going to intrude on my excellent morning. No sir, he did not have that right nor did I grant him permission. I let it go, and in that moment I experienced a rush of enlightenment. We are in complete control of our feelings. I direct my emotional state.

No more anger, I cannot welcome rage into my life. If that’s truly how you chose to live yours then you have my sympathy. Angry Metro bus driver, you have my sympathy. You’re surrounded by pushy cabs and stinking passengers daily. Perhaps someone looked down their nose at you today and that made you feel the inferiority of your place on our collective totem pole? Who knows what handed you to me in that intersection. But you, angry bus driver, with your horn of wrath, did not upset the delicate balance I discovered. You cannot. I place one hand on the wheel and one on the line and I will guide this vessel through your storm. You are only an opportunity.


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