Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Lot can be Told About a Person

The privilege of driving (or having a driver's license) I was once told by my friendly high school Driver's Ed teacher at the time, is just that - privilege.  It seems, however, that over the past few years, privileges, not the least of which driving, are clearly being taken for granted by a noticeable portion of society.

Is it just me?  It doesn't feel like it.  In my typical, inquisitive yet unscientific way, I surveyed those around me with the question.  In a nutshell, they've generally concurred.

Sadly, driving around town has been increasingly wrought with the combined plagues of fellow drivers who clearly have little skill behind the wheel, aren't familiar with basic traffic laws, have zero regard for others on the road (it's all about ME attitude) and worst of all, don't really seem to care.  There have always been "bad" drivers from time to time, no dispute there.  But I do remember a more courteous time where it was common to not come to a complete stop in the middle of a road where there's no indication that stopping is "OK," and not seeming to give a damn to boot.

I'll have more on this general topic in future posts - that's my promise to you.  With the amount of driving I do in Los Angeles every day, believe me I have way too much to share on this subject.  This short diatribe serves only as an introduction to a dynamic of the human condition I have come to realize through numerous first hand experiences.  Much indeed, can be told about a person's approach to life and the treatment of others around them by three things:

1) The way they drive.  Could you have guessed this one?  What I've come to find out in my 22 years of driving thus far are personalities are on full display on the roads we share.  It almost seems as if the culprits of selfish driving practices act out in a way that suggests they believe no one is looking.  Well, everyone is looking, actually.

Aggressive acceleration and braking.  The classic cutoff from two lanes away.  Turn signal perhaps?  I think not.  How about the one where a lane change is attempted and the vehicle you would end up in front of decides to all of sudden speed up so as to not allow you the room to merge in.  Tell me, what was the point of that?  Aren't we supposed to share the road?  Bottom line: if your fellow driver on the road acts aggressively, selfishly or rudely, you can bet that when it comes down to it in other life circumstances, they'll act in that same fashion.  Watch for this.  It's amazing what you'll discover. 

2) The way they treat servers at a restaurant.  Generally, the same principals as point #1 here apply, but with some revision.  Rudeness on display applies here too, but is the end result of pride, rooted in a type of superiority (or inferiority?) complex.  Put simply, this very easily translates to a lack of the ability to be a humble person.  Regardless of alleged social status, if a person cannot do something as simple as be kind and respectful to another who is serving them, not only are they insecure but they're also petty.  Stay away from this kind of person!  Given the opportunity, they'll give you the same treatment.  

3) The way they treat animals.  This is the third area of a person's traits that I've noticed to be an unconscious indicator of personality.  Here, the same holds essentially true as point #2.  Read #2 and repeat here.  The only thing to add to this is that at the very least, a server at a restaurant can talk back - Animals can't.  If you've got a person on your hands who mistreats animals, that too says plenty of pride, petty notions of superiority and perhaps even violence in some cases.

As person who loves humanity (and nature / animals), it breaks my heart to see individuals act out in the ways that I've described.  I realize that some or all of this can be taken as a grim outlook on people as a whole.  I don't want that to be the perception here at all.  Remember that while these are simply personal experiences and evaluations of these negatives in the human condition, the opposite of these traits also exists.  It's those people who share the opposing traits of those herein that can and do serve as an example for the rest to follow and eventually, little by little change for the better.