The Choice to Engage

It’s been a while.  Dealt with another split in my theatre world.  But this one was for the better and far away from me.  I started my new job which has been keeping me busy.  I’ve slightly touched on my play, added some more dialogue and more specific stage directions, etc.  But, that’s not my reason for blogging.  I’m blogging because of an interaction I had with some old people today.  Okay, they weren’t really old, maybe mid-50’s to late-60’s.

I was driving home and on my way to the freeway after having brunch with a friend.  I had both hands on the wheel, listening to the radio.  I stopped at a stop light, and while I was stopped, I grabbed my purse from the passenger’s side floor and put my phone on the charger.  Light still red.  I resumed my sitting and waited.  I heard honking next to me.  I glanced over and this man is yelling at me while making a phone out of his hand.  I could tell he was yelling at me to get off the phone, and he was being quite aggressive.  I mouthed back (my windows were up) showing both hands in the air that I wasn’t on the phone.  Then I see the man’s wife lean over with her dog in her lap and she starts yelling the same thing at me.  Well, at that point I knew I wasn’t going to convince them that I was not on the phone.  So, I flipped them the bird and didn’t acknowledge them or look back over.  I kept hearing the man honking his horn, and I kept ignoring.  Did I have the last word?  I don’t know.  Did I care?  Of course not.

I tried not to engage in the conflict as much as I could.  Of course, I couldn’t resist flipping the bird.  I really didn’t care because I knew I wasn’t talking on my phone or texting on my phone.  I simply put my phone on the charger while I was at the red light, and it took probably…five seconds?  I could have yelled back at the guy until I had a vein sticking out like him, but I chose not to.  It wasn’t important enough to me to prove to these people that they were in the wrong and I wasn’t on my phone.  I know that anything I yelled back or gestured wouldn’t do squat and they would only continue to yell at me.  And it was aggressive yelling with intense hand motions and the doggy in the lap being jerked around while the wife yelled her two cents at me.  Of course it’s bugging me slightly because I’m blogging about it.  But, I have to say, I’m human and it felt good to flip the bird, and resume my life in the serenity of my car while this man continued to honk his horn at me several more times until the light turned green.  It felt pretty good to be the calm one and in control of my emotions.  I couldn’t even tell you what happened to the couple after the light turned green.

So, why am I writing about this?  It gave me some inspiration for Japanese Eyes/American Heart.  It wasn’t the exact event and I’m not adding a scene that is identical to my experience today.  It’s the choice to engage or disengage in conflict, and the choice to start conflict.  As well as the decision to stay in control or to completely lose control.  So we shall see where this inspiration takes me.

Thanks for your reading time.

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