Thursday, May 12, 2016

Read your Friggin’ Bible, she demanded!

Hitting a rough patch lately, I traveled down to the Hunger Coalition to ask for some food. It was crowded as the administrators had thoughtfully added a free dog vaccination service for the community that same day. I had been lucky to find a good parking spot for my big rig, and after checking in at the desk, started milling around outside the bustling waiting room on that nice afternoon.

As one food recipient began exiting with his vehicle from the front row, two cars suddenly started vying for his prime parking spot. Since he pulled out to the right, this gave a woman approaching from the left an advantage to grab the spot; and as she had a handicapped placard displayed in her window this seemed like a natural fit to the outside observers. However, her spot-snagging immediately triggered anger with the motorist on the right and that wiry woman started aggressively honking her horn and flipping the bird toward the handicapped parking woman. Not only that, but in this swift scene the angry woman decided to block someone else in, and then quickly emerged from her rig to confront the handicapped woman.
The troubled woman sprinted up to the window of the handicapped woman and started shouting surreally, “You know that man was saving that spot from me! And you took it! READ YOUR BIBLE! READ YOUR FRICKIN’ BIBLE!!

This about did it for me. I read newspapers, and had inkling that this is about when bullets sometimes start whizzing, so I slipped into the waiting room. But then half of me was compelled to check out the wiry woman, so I eased back out and starting analyzing her.  Immediately after the thumping bible encounter the poor woman directed her intensity to a young man whose small dog had pooped tiny droplets in the mulch-bed. “Do you mind going to your car and getting a plastic bag to clean up your filth? I’ll watch your dog!” and then she grabbed his leash and stole his seat. Then she started boisterously passive-aggressively exclaiming: Oh, this dog is my favorite kind; I really like him!

At this juncture, I thought of grabbing my recently published article “Merge right with kindness” of the dashboard of my work-rig and tucking it into her car (which was still blocking in some other poor soul). Then I reconsidered because I felt that prophet-sizing kindness there would likely only piss her off even more and wondering who else she might have heatedly confronted that afternoon I didn’t want to be next.
So here breaks the fourth wall: Since Abner N. remarked that he wouldn’t read my whimsical “Merge Right with Kindness” article until I weaved it properly into this tale; his goading me to become a better writer leads me this rejection letter from a modified version of the ‘merge’ story (which I had been desiring to slip into the nasty bible lady’s window):

We received your guest opinion submission and it was reviewed by Robert Ehlert, Editorial Page Editor. However, it was not accepted for publication. We simply receive more guest opinion submissions than can possibly be accepted for publication. And with the Legislature just ending and a presidential election year, we are extremely backlogged right now.

If you have any questions, you need to contact Robert Ehlert directly at 377-6437 or email

Thank you,

Peggy Calhoun
News Assistant
Idaho Statesman

On Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 10:43 PM, <> wrote:

Merge right with kindness

Our sturdy work crew witnessed some disconcerting scenes recently during the commute where traffic quickly comes together by the bridge under construction near the Ketchum hospital. After seeing one ill-mannered incident that looked like it could lead to an altercation one of my guys said, “In situations like these, I just try to focus on good intentions for the troubled people involved,” as he motioned with some blessing gestures.

Then, another colleague clicked on Wikipedia and spoke aloud: “Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.”


Our anchor man observed with thoughtful intensity: “Some people are just having an awful day and everybody is allowed that. However, some poor folks are experiencing a series of really bad days; think about some of your own worst days. And getting behind the wheel of a vehicle may be the one thing that temporarily gives some people a powerful sense of freedom and control, while many other aspects of their life are in shambles.”


Which drives me back to the blessing gestures: When motorists merge, it would bring better understanding if more were to reflect on what their most highly revered spiritual figure would do to create a better convergence at our future community bridge.


And with this harmonic jazz in mind; as they’ve done well to lessen dangerous conditions for other large mammals, perhaps our Idaho Transportation Department could develop a contest for aspiring graphic artists to come up with an icon to be displayed on new “Merge right with kindness” road signs.


Our quixotic high-hope for this persuasive art to work is that some impolite motorists will shift their behavior over from nasty bird-flipping, and upgrade to sturdy peace signs playfully shared with two nice fingers.

No comments: