Last week, while waiting to make a U-turn across a busy street into Barnes and Noble, a car, poised for a right-hand turn, commenced its trajectory, coinciding with my own turn (even though I had the right-of-way).
I stopped, and let him continue. 'Twas a simple error, I deemed, since he was looking the other way to ensure no cars were coming.
But to my astonishment, he stopped, promptly rolled down his window, flipped me off, yelled some words I don’t think he would repeat in front of his mother, and then sped away.
I was amazed. For some reason, he felt the need to make his anger known to me, as if it was somehow going to change the circumstances.
This happened again last night. In a parking garage while I was talking with a friend, a motorcycle came down from the upper level, making its way to the exit. At the same time, a car was backing out, quite slowly.
The motorcycle saw the car backing out, deemed it would soon be in its own path, sped up to pass it, honked its horn, and then flipped off the car.
Again, an honest mistake. The car didn’t see the motorcycle, and I’m sure if they did, they wouldn’t have tried to hit them on purpose. Did the motorcycle think said driver was engaging in a malevolent act? I doubt it. Was just angry? Yes.
Reflecting on these tales, I think to myself, Why do these people care so much?
Then, I was reminded of the wisdom imparted by Seneca:
Now all the things which cause us to groan or recoil, are part of the tax of life – things, my dear Lucillius, which you should never hope and never seek to escape.
Reading thoughtless threads and being forced to watch mind-numbing videos on Twitter are part of the tax of seeking interesting ideas from strangers on the internet.
Cold DMs from people who want to “grow your newsletter revenue” are part of the tax of meeting interesting people in your inbox.
Dealing with close calls are part of the tax of driving.
But the best thing about all of these situations? You can just ignore them.
You don’t have to reply to anyone’s DM, or put them on blast by posting about it.
You don’t have to engage with anyone who has “Politics is my identity” or “The Democrats are evil” in their bio.
Upon the successful evasion of catastrophe, you may continue upon your merry drive.
Yes, there are taxes to be paid, but once paid, you can just ignore them.