Have you ever seen anybody geek out? It’s quite a sight to behold. They are in a normal scenario; the circumstances are typical, something is mentioned in passing, and suddenly the person is off to the races.
Recently, I saw a young woman sitting down for a formal interview. She was competent and capable. She answered all the questions in a well thought out fashion. Then when the interview was over, someone made an innocuous statement. The young woman absolutely came alive and began explaining the phenomenon we were talking about. Her enthusiasm was contagious and charming.
I’m afraid my geek-outs look and sound a little more chaotic. For example, when I’m teaching punctuation for the SAT and I start explaining the Oxford comma, I feel my excitement building as I relay the story of a dairy company in Maine that had to pay out $5 million because someone left a comma out of the company memo. You know someone had to get fired for that. Can you imagine them at their next job interview, “You were terminated… because you forgot a comma?“
Anyway, I’m sure that to a teenager I look like a crazy old woman getting way too excited about punctuation.
Recently, I’ve been getting wound up over more than punctuation. Several of the books I’ve been reading have had some crossover, and they each had a big impact on me. It’s been very exciting.
I have read several books about Taoism and its tenants of simplicity, patience, compassion, and harmony. As things in the world seem to be getting more chaotic and frenetic, these seem like wonderful things to aim for.
I have tried to achieve that mindset. maintain my equilibrium. I was doing a good job too. I was starting to notice the small things more, and feel less stress. It was working.
I went for a walk with a friend of mine. We had a deep conversation about the topic. I told her that more often I was beginning to see the blue sky that meditation talks about. It was a wonderful afternoon.
On my way home. I was experiencing a Zen buzz, feeling love toward everyone, and then a guy in a maroon minivan came out of nowhere, zipping in and out, making jerk move after jerk move. He was in the lane right in front of me, as we came up to the red light. Suddenly he aggressively pulled into the other lane, and I knew exactly what he was going to do. He was going to fly around the car ahead and jump back into my lane without having to wait on anyone.
My Zen flew out the window as I looked over and thought “Not on my watch you’re not.“ And he couldn’t. I drove so fast he had no way of getting back in.
I can’t say I’m especially proud of myself. As I was thinking about it later and chastising myself, it did bring to mind an appropriate quote by Richard Rohr as he was speaking of Saint Bonaventure, “To work up to loving God,… Don’t start by trying to love God, or even people; love rocks, and elements first.“
That seems like a much better starting point for someone with my kind of road rage.