I’m about half way through my run, which means I am so deep in thought I’m only mildly aware of my surroundings. I hear tires on the street and register that a car is approaching from behind. This does not phase me as I am on the sidewalk out of harms way. EXCEPT, Just as the vehicle gets beside me it lets out two sharp short honks and comes to a stop in front of the next house on the block, presumably to summon a passenger within the house, but which almost ended my life.
My reaction to the honks next to me, may perhaps be considered extreme, but my body acts involuntarily and I KNOW my heart came to a complete and total stop for the next several moments.
As I approach and pass, it lets out two more honks.
Now I will freely admit that I am a somewhat jumpy person. Those who know me are rolling their eyes at that understatement. Let’s just say that when I was shopping at a mall with my sister, and a few balloons popped, I may or may not have pulled her to the ground and covered our heads. *Ahem*
As I catch my breath and pass, I look in to see what I am certain must be a teenage driver, and to give one of my best pursed lip, brow furrowed, head shaking DISAPPOINTED MOM looks so they will get the message that honking the horn as you arrive to collect your passenger is NOT ok.
Except when I look in the window, what I see IS a mom. I am surprised and saddened that such rude behavior was coming from one of my own. But, I practice tolerance and give her the benefit of the doubt, and wish her well in my mind as she is obviously headed for an open-heart surgery appointment, and cannot waste one second by getting out of the car.
I’m still musing about world wide rudeness, a block later, when I am vaguely aware of tires behind me once again. Before I can make the conscious connection, two short sharp honks shave another year off my life, as she pulls up in front of a home on the other side of the street. I whip around and, with my eyes, give her my very best, “Are you honking KIDDING me with this?!? I mean, what the HONK are you thinking?!?”
After I cooled down I decided to do a bit of research. I got my car and a stopwatch and drove up to the front of a home. Stopped the car, opened the door, closed the door and walked up to the front door where I pretended to ring the door-bell. 25 steps. 30 seconds.
I then exchanged the imaginary obligatory pleasantries “Hi! Let me grab my bag. What a lovely day… blah blah” 30 seconds and walk back to the car 25 steps. 35 seconds.
In less than 2 minutes I have completed my task, including niceties, and potentially sparing the life of a passing runner. Not to mention saving Emily Post from another roll in her hole.
This example may be small, but in the grand scheme of human interaction, can we really NOT spare TWO minutes to use our manners, our civility, and our legs a little more?
So the next time you have the opportunity to use a knock instead of a horn, please consider taking the few extra seconds to do the polite thing, and avoid potentially frightening the HONK out of someone.
With deep gratitude,
Your slightly skittish motivational speaker