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2011-12-22 digital edition

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2011-12-22 / General Stories

The Blinding Truth

The trouble with the world can be characterized by an example of human behavior that is readily recognized, but is nonetheless unexplainable.

This example happened while I was driving home one night.

The thoughts in my head were the usual reminders my subconscious is always sending me: What to buy, who to drop off, what to fill out, when to buy, drop off and fill out. I was solving problems and calculating to the beat of a soft rock station. I listen to soft rock when I solve problems. Hard rock makes me angry at everything. Country/ western makes me think I’m having marital problems even when things are going well. Rap is… well… rap? Are you kidding?

Soft rock is my music of choice when traveling alone at night. I was mellow but not sleepy, enjoying my alone-time with Josh Groban.

As I came around a corner, a car coming from the opposite direction flashed his high beams at me. Since I did not have my high beams on, I thought perhaps he was warning me of a speed trap.

I sent him a silent thank you and slowed down. I didn’t know exactly what the speed limit was on that road. It was not one on which I traveled frequently. But if someone flashes me, I just assume I might be going too fast. A mile or two down the road I realized… there was no speed trap. I wasn’t speeding. So why did the other driver flash me? I took back my silent thank you. In fact, I hoped he never received it.

I assumed it was a male because only a male would’ve done something so arrogant. My husband would’ve assumed it was a woman, because only a woman would have done something so daffy.

A few miles down the road, on a straight stretch of road, another oncoming driver flashed me from well in the distance. He thinks I have my high beams on, I thought. To show that I did not have my high beams on, I quickly flashed him back, friendly-like.

The problem with high beams is that you cannot attach an emotion to them. The other driver did not think I was being friendly. In fact, he thought I was being a smart Alec. It didn’t occur to me that if he thought my high beams were on before, flashing them higher would’ve rendered him temporarily blind.

He evidently had been listening to hard rock because it was definitely anger that motivated him to turn his high beams on full and treat me to a blast of light not unlike the second coming of Christ. I think he even had flood lights mounted on his roof to enhance the apocalyptic experience.

Celine Dion, now crooning through my speakers, was not the right accompaniment for this onslaught. I needed Queen, Kiss, or the Rolling Stones. In two beats of Celine’s My Heart Will Go On, I turned off the calming music and embraced my inner Mick Jagger.

Almost involuntarily, my fingers flicked my high beams on full. “Satisfaction” was playing at a bazillion decibels in my mind. If I’m going to die, Mr. High Beams was going with me!

Squinting, as I drove through what looked like a Red Giant going super nova on that dark stretch of road, it occurred to me that I was definitely, categorically, unquestionably… stupid. That was the blinding truth.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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