To Turn or Not to Turn…


The act of driving taught me something important about myself recently.

Picture yourself driving down the road. You’re thinking about the next turn you have to make up ahead. If you need to change lanes you may put on your turn signal and wait for a break in the traffic, or perhaps some compassionate soul will slow down and flash his lights at you, allowing you in front of him or her.

That’s probably how most people would do it. Not me. I rarely use my turn signal. I will wait for a break in the traffic, but I hate to put on my signal and wait for somebody to let me over. Crazy as it sounds, I believe this is a strong indicator of my resistance to relying on anyone else. I don’t want to be at the mercy of another driver, waiting on him to show me mercy and let me over. I don’t want him knowing I need over. To me, that would be construed as weakness on my part. Instead, what I do is watch and wait for my moment. Yes, I have to plan ahead, but this is my way. When I have an opening, I zip over to the other lane. I always do it safely, or at least I try to. I really try not to cut people off, but at the same time, I don’t want them to allow me to get over. If they have to slow down, I want it to be because I’ve already made my move and they need to slow so we don’t hit; not slow to let me over.

I’m sure this attitude is a grave weakness on my part, and is indicative of my world view. It’s me against the world, doing it own my own, my way, without help from others. Because relying on others would show weakness. I have to be capable on my own, the first time I try, and succeed, or else it’s all a failure. If I have to ask advice, or seek counsel, or ask for help, then it’s not just me, it’s not by virtue of my innate talent or ability. It’s watered down and meaningless. Consequently, I need to have and display my natural ability to zip in and out of traffic, changing lanes at will without using a turn signal. No reliance on another driver.

That being said, I have also discovered that if I use my turn signals consistently for a while, then my attitude toward using them begins to change.

Slowly, I begin to feel like an honest citizen, an above board kind of guy who lives in harmony with his neighbors. Turn signal use becomes the catalyst that legitimizes my need and my right to change lanes. Rather than a sly fox making a quick jaunt into the next lane, I am a gentleman thoroughbred horse, making a friendly gesture toward his neighbor while I ease over. And we’re both smiling.

It actually feels good to use my turn signal properly. I believe that doing so makes me feel more legitimate in other areas of my life — as a parent, an employee, etc.

I’m not sure what all this means, other than that it is probably best (and for my own good) that I don’t try to do everything on my own. Rather, I should work in conjunction with those around for the betterment of all — not just myself. Doing so will make me feel better and help me feel closer to my fellow man.

You may be saying something like, “This is the craziest stuff I’ve ever heard. What does using your turn signal have to do with how you interact with your fellow man?” I don’t know that it does have anything to do with other people. I can only say for myself what the difference is when I do or don’t use my turn signals. If it’s true for me, however, then it may very well be true for at least one of the other seven billion people on this ball we live on.


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