Why is he going so slow?

by | Dec 12, 2020 | Life Lessons & Leadership | 0 comments

Fault vs Responsibility Shawn Trautman Lessons in Leadership
My daughter pulled out and onto a highway the other day as we had about a 15 minute drive to get back home.

She quickly accelerated only to find herself hitting the brakes within seconds as the car directly in front of her got super close, super quick.

“Yo! Let’s go! Speed it up!” she says in an annoyed, somewhat-raised voice that only those in the car (me) can hear since the windows were up.

“Isn’t the speed limit 55 here?” she inquired.

“Why is he going so slow?”

“Come on, let’s go!”

We pass gas station after gas station, other grocery stores, specialty shops, car repair specialists.

No blinker. No speeding up. No hazard lights.

We drive a mile like this (takes almost 3 minutes) and I can see she’s befuddled.

“Holy crap! There’s like 5 cars on my tail.” And mind you, this seems like a bigger deal being that we live in a small town.

Not knowing why we were going a measly 23 mph, I said “what if?”

“What if, what?” she says.

“What if they’re on their way to a funeral home and they’re going slow because they just don’t want to say goodbye?”

“Dad!!!!!”

“No, really, it’s 10:33 & maybe the funeral’s at 11, and they’re procrastinating because it doesn’t quite seem real, yet.”

She looks over at me with a sad “what kind of twisted mind do you have?” kind of look.

“For a lot of people, the funeral is their last goodbye and it’s dreaded.”

More gas stations. More small shops.

Just cruise control at 23mph.

Another mile goes by.

“Now there’s at least 10 cars behind me!” she says. “Can I just pass him in the middle lane?”

“Not legally, but yes. I wouldn’t recommend it though.”

“Maybe they’re thinking of what they want to say. This will be their final chance.” I say.

Now, with nearly a tear in her eye, she’s no longer upset.

We drive, slowly, and pass business after business and we’re both thinking about what it would be like if someone we knew or loved had passed and we were on our way to their funeral.

Another mile. More cars piling up.

It’s now just after 10:45 and we’re still chugging along at the speed of a fast lawn mower.

And then… things got real, fast!

The left blinker comes on.

No joke.

As we’re coming up on a funeral home.

You could’ve heard a pin drop.

Our eyes are both bulging at this point and I say “No way!”

Now, when I said “No way” it was more like “Nooooooo Waaaaaaaay.” I said it slowly and dragged it out a bit. Think of it this way, if a normal speed of talking is 55wpm, these words would have come out at about 23wpm as I was in disbelief.

Okay, so now we’re going even slower as the guy has slowed down, in our lane (not in the middle turn lane), and is about to turn left.

He turns, but it’s a bit sharper of a left turn than we were expecting. Almost 90 degrees.

He, instead, turns into the gas station that’s right next to the funeral home.

My daughter lets out the biggest sigh of relief and then says “ha! You were wrong!!!! About all of it.”

I said, “Nope. They just realized the funeral home isn’t open yet and they had to use the restroom. I was right!”

We laughed & joked the rest of the way home, but the air had changed. Just that quickly both our hearts had dropped and we had lumps in our throats.

It’s funny how quickly our reactions change when we try to see something from a different perspective. We never really know what others are going through, and whether we were right or not, it’s possible their speed was warranted to their situation.

Friends, the next time you find yourself behind someone going slow, play a game of “what if?” and then de-escalate your own feelings.

You’ll thank me later.

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