The guy behind the wheel of the truck wasn’t just irritating me. He was scaring me.
I was driving to my office on a snowy morning, and the road was icy and slick. The speed limit through the residential part of town was 25 miles per hour, and I was sticking to it. Since the announcer on the radio was warning people to stay off the roads completely, I didn’t feel overly cautious. I felt sensible.
But the guy driving the over-sized silver truck was pushing his luck and was therefore also pushing mine. He was following me so closely that I couldn’t even see the headlights of his vehicle. Traffic everywhere was moving slower than normal and backing off a few feet wouldn’t have gotten the driver to his destination any quicker, so there was no justification for his behavior.
I could only guess that he had something to prove. Maybe he wanted to show me that he wasn’t afraid or that his truck could maneuver over the icy roads just fine. Or maybe he was seeking excitement rather than accepting his circumstances.
I’ll never know if he arrived at his destination safely or if he was one of thousands of people in the Mid-Atlantic region involved in traffic accidents that day. I’ll also never know if he’ll push his luck again the next time he’s driving in snow. My guess is he probably will because his behavior reminded me of drug addicts who are always chasing the high.
Drug addicts generally don’t start using large amount of drugs, but as their bodies begin to tolerate their substance of choice, they need more and more to achieve the same high. And they aren’t alone.
I know a significant number of people who do the same thing. Only, like the obnoxious driver, the high they seek isn’t dependent on drugs. It is dependent on their need to feel powerful or to have material possessions or to achieve a certain social status. And, like the drug addict, no matter how much they do or achieve, they are never satisfied and just want more.
If this was simply a personal issue or decision, I wouldn’t care. But, like drug addicts, some people’s selfish needs and behaviors have far-reaching implications.
I’m referring to the mothers who complain that they need yet another exotic vacation or the fathers who use their children’s athletic accomplishments to sate their own needs for accolades.
Every time that happens, our children are being taught to chase the high instead of being satisfied with having parents who love them or enough food on their table or heat on a cold day.
I’m not surprised that some people turn to drugs to feel better. We are all surrounded by people who turn to artificial measures of happiness that can never truly be satisfied.
But life isn’t about always being happy, always being entertained, always feeling important or always getting something new and shiny.
Life is about finding joy in the mundane, learning to accept failures, celebrating our relationships and laughing at our mistakes,
I can only hope that more adults, and their children, are starting to understand that.
If not, we will continue to encourage the next generation to keep chasing the high.