So last Saturday we're out riding our bikes like we usually do on weekends.
The temperature was perfect. The sun was shining. Hardly anyone was out on the streets.
As we were riding on the sidewalks (the street didn't have a bike lane) we came up to the entrance to the supermarket, and we could see that a car was slowly coming up to the stop sign at the exit of the driveway.
Being cautious riders, we slowed down to make sure the car wasn't going to run the stop sign and change our bike ride into a hospital visit. Luckily, the car was slowing to a crawl, so we kept going. We were there at about the same time, but as we approached the driveway, the car had completely stopped.
As we normally do, we smiled and waved our hands in gratitude for not running the stop sign and breaking our limbs. I even mouthed "thank you!" I thought nothing of it.
I thought nothing, that is, until that same car pulled out and drove slowly by us. Curious, we glanced inside the car just as the elderly lady driver enthusiastically gave us the middle finger.
- It was a beautiful day.
- There was very little traffic.
- It was early in the morning, so there hadn't been much time for anything bad to happen.
- We reached the exit driveway at the same time as her car.
- She was already stopped.
- We said thank you.
- She was delayed by us, if at all, for maybe 1.7 seconds.
And yet we had upset this lady so much that she went out of her way to give us the one-finger salute.
Something's going on there.
There's no way that should have set her off. As I mentioned, it was early so she hadn't been awake long enough to have "one of those days." So what's the problem?
The problem, it seems to me, is attitude.
This poor lady has been wronged by someone or something so horribly that her mind is now programmed to look only for grievances. Her brain is programmed so deeply, in fact, that beautiful weather and serene streets and genuine gratitude from other humans have no effect. She only sees people who should get off her lawn.
To her, the world is a bad place filled with bad people who do bad things specifically to her.
And that's the power of attitude. A good attitude can see all the positive and disregard the negative, and a bad attitude and trash all the good and grossly exaggerate the bad.
I feel bad for her. I'd like to give her a hug. But I'll bet you a dollar she wouldn't have been interested.
Attitude is a powerful tool. We need to use it wisely.
Otherwise, good days might turn into flip-the-bird days.