I was struggling to find the tuxedo shop this morning where my son would get hooked up for the prom. I had the GPS going, but I also needed to call the place for last-minute directions. En route I made a couple of unintended turns. Nothing illegal; okay, nothing egregiously illegal. But each time it caused the car behind me to have to wait for me to make my move. Each time, after about a nanosecond, they slammed onto their horn. Loud and long.
Now, think abut it. Was their honking going to make me move any faster? Was it going to allow them to reach their destination any faster? No and No, would be the correct responses.
So what did they achieve? Zip. Alright maybe they achieved some small bit of satisfaction. But what else, really? Nothing. And he was stuck in the very same spot he was when he first decided to honk.
How many times have you just hauled off and honked – literally and figuratively – when you were stuck, even for just a brief moment? Maybe you snapped at a family member, friend or work colleague. Or burst out in anger or frustration. Maybe you even honked at yourself by doing something destructive, either physically, emotionally or spiritually.
And how’d it work out for you? Most likely, stuck in the very same place you were when you decided to honk.
My son, a new driver, was in the car with me. So I was trying to set a good example, even perhaps use the honking cars as teaching moments. When the cars blared, I paused slightly (resisting my own desire to turn around and give the driver my real thoughts) then continued with my turn. When I had moved enough for the car to move I even gave them a “thanks” wave as they sped past us.
The only time you should use your horn, I told him, is to avoid an accident.
Not when someone has made in inconvenient in front of you that delays you briefly.
Not when the driver in front of your fails to react to the light turning green the moment the bulb turns green.
(And no, not when you see a cute thing walking by; keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road!)
Honking gets you nowhere. It not self-satidfying, either.
Instead let the moment of mini-anger pass. By honking you acknowledge and even embrace it. You give it life, and allow it to linger way too long.
And you’re still stuck in the same place.
Keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the road ahead. You’ll get where you were trying to go, without the anger.