Thursday, July 31, 2008

Auto Love

There’s much to be learned about Hello Love in your very own car. I’ve had to laugh at myself several times in the last week as I observed my inner monologue. On the street, we all have to be civil or polite or at least indifferent. In a car, it seems, all judgment, rude behavior and indignation are back on full throttle.

Admit it. How often do you look over to a fellow driver and actually think something even remotely nice about them? Do you ever even dare smile? But even more to the point, how often do you find yourself swearing in ways you never would outside your car just because someone nudges in ahead of you or speeds up at a time you wish they wouldn’t?

And the car horn. The horn was invented to be used in an emergency—to alert another driver to possible danger. I don’t believe it was intended to stand in for a call to the immediate environs about how impatient or indignant or powerful we are. I also don’t believe it was invented as a universal release for all our pent up unexpressed daily frustration.

My suggestion. Start practicing Hello Love in the car. In fact, every time you want to honk your horn, think Hello Love instead. You’ll crack yourself up. Really. You’ll find yourself on autopilot ready to cuss out a fellow commuter and you’ll end up naming them love. And then you’ll think, “Wow – what if they really are love? What if LOVE looks like that.” And it does. It does look like THAT.

Once many years ago, I accidentally cut a woman off in traffic and we ended up next to each other at a stoplight. She turned to glare at me and I looked back and said (through the closed window), “I’m so sorry.” She could hardly believe it. It’s as if years melted off her face and she turned into a sweet, soft, welcoming thing. “Oh, it’s okay!”, she mouthed back. And we smiled. That happened 15 years ago and I haven’t forgotten it.

I think if we turned our heads to the car next to us and sent a little Hello Love to the anonymous driver on our left, we’d all have some similarly unforgettable connections.

Let me know if you try it.

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