Last nigh I dreamt I saw two large airliners line up on parallel landing strips, only to have one crowd the other, clip its tail with its wing, and rip open the fuselage, sending both onto the ground as they landed. I ran to tell authorities, and saw a large military missle come over the hill in slow motion, and pop like a giant balloon against a building, causing no damage. I woke wondering what sort of omen it carried.
At the first toll booth outside of Ponce on the way back to San Juan on the Island of Puerto Rico I found out. The lanes were being worked on, funneling three lanes into one. In typical Latin American style the car to my right and I played a game of chicken until his mirror hit mine--on my rental! Seeing minimal damage and not exactly wanting to confront that kind of reckless driver, I paid my toll and drove on up the highway. Soon the other car passed me and began to try to force me off the road. He did that a couple of times until I finally had my son call the police, and, relieved to see one quickly appear, pulled over with the other car right behind me. The officer heard our stories, scolded me for not stopping even though the damage seemed slight, and then mercifully wrote up a mere "accident incident" report and did not issue me a citation. So now I've called insurances, and done all of that other stuff. In the end the missle popped with no real damage to anything or anyone.
So I began reflecting on why I had joined in the game of chicken. Part of my Latin American spirit c an get just as machista as the next guy, and having the right-of-way, didn't want to get shown up, even with a rental car. Yes, I confess.
To chide myself into more careful choices is to mold my behavior with fear, something that I strongly disagree with. What other options are there?
Community. So here is how it goes. Yes, I'm in the middle lane with the right-of-way, and yes, the cars beside me are being royal pains in the heine, but somehow, in the larger picture of things, everybody has to get funnelled through that one lane, pay their tolls and be on their way. Why not help the general peace of the land and give my place to another? Does that not take even more "c....es" in the long run?
Lessons are usually learned the hard way, though....