The Dirt on Violence

In the wake of all the recent violence in the world, I’ve been struggling to figure from whence it all arises.

Yesterday, in the parking lot at Save On Foods, as I was pulling into a parking stall, a young woman in a car on my right threw open the door of her car inches from my bumper. I had a guy hard on my tail so as she closed her door I continued pulling in. I needed to give her more room, but as it happens the guy on the other side of me was pulling out of his spot at the speed of an ancient land tortoise and as I was thinking, “Come on dudie…you can DO it!”, the girl on  my right slammed her car door into the side of my car. I looked over at her and she looked back at me like, “yeah. so what?” As she walked into the store I re-parked to give her enough room to get back into her vehicle, checked for a dent and went into the store thinking,”Dumb bitch”.

On the way home, waiting to turn left, I noticed a guy in a Jeep so close behind me that I couldn’t see his grill. “Nice”, I thought. The light turned yellow and I turned into the nearest lane as is correct and turned on my signal light to get across the next lanes I needed to facilitate my upcoming turn. Buddy behind me had run the yellow light and turned illegally into the middle lane and was speeding to block my own progression into the very same middle lane. I made the lane change in spite of his stunting and signalled again and crossed into the last lane on the right as he sped up to get beside me, racing toward the flashing cross walk ahead. He gave me an ugly glare as I slowed down to the appropriate speed and I thought,”Whatever asshole…big truck, tiny um, accelerator.

That’s when it dawned on me. All the ugliness and violence? It comes from me.

Later at work, in conversation with some favorite regulars, we were discussing how in this particular place in time, a person can be hated and unfriended for a simple remark. Some sentence typed on twitter or facebook can cause a very real fight.

In this age of communication and technology, have we as a species, evolved sufficiently to handle the implications and the fall out from the very advancements we enjoy?

I wonder if, in the days of horse and buggy, people got mad at each other for parking too close or literally tail-gating. I guess the horses would likely have just kicked the horses of any thoughtless buggy driver and that would have been that. Or perhaps not. Probably would have depended on the horses. After all they do possess horse sense.

If, on the other hand the drive to the general store took an hour or more in the first place, maybe waiting an extra couple of minutes to climb down from the cart wouldn’t be such a big deal. Maybe knowing your neighbours and knowing you may need to rely on them in an emergency, prevented you from bashing their buggy.

Indeed in terms of offending comments, they would have been written in a carefully considered letter before being sent off on a days long journey before being gratefully received. Real fights might have taken weeks or months to develop and misunderstandings might be rectified by next weeks’ post.

Whatever it is though, I’d like to try to cure myself of this inner violence. I read recently that any random person in the world is related to any other random person by not more than 50th cousin status. We are literally all related. I want to use this statistic to curb that self-righteous, self entitled reaction that allows me to think that some girl in a parking lot is a dumb bitch or the guy in the big truck has manhood issues. In spite of the fact that they were probably thinking evil thoughts about me, I have the power and the knowledge to over-ride those tendencies by attempting to adjust my own thinking.

It’s not easy. I’ve been working on it all day and I haven’t got the hang of it yet. Wish me luck though. I’m going to keep trying.

Correction. Wish us all luck. :}

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