Monday, May 19, 2014

Daddy Should Know Better

To my son Tommy,

With experience comes wisdom. Or at least that is what they tell me. As the dad, I am supposed to know the right thing to do. On the drive home, in an effort to divert my mind from the current barrage of life worries, I was searching for those questions in my life that remain unanswered.

Usually these questions come in the form of a joke, such great mysteries like "why do they call them apartments if they are all stuck together?" or "why is the word abbreviation so long?" are enough to divert my mind. But today, I came to a real life situation that I am not sure of the correct answer or even if there is a correct answer.

When a person allows you to merge, yields to you to give the right away, what is your responsibility after that? Sure we all give the obligatory wave, but sooner or later the question comes up about choosing to let another car in. Do I let the next car in front of me, paying the kindness forward? That is usually what I do but does that extend the generosity of the guy who let me in. He will now be two or maybe even more cars back and perhaps when he let me in he only expected to be one behind. If we were people standing in a shopping line and he let me go first and then I let another (or twenty) in front of me the answer is obvious, but when it comes to isn't cut and dry.

Certainly any car that I let in probably should have merged much earlier, back when I did or after our original Good Samaritan but if the merge lane is long it presents a bunch of questions. did this guy try to merge earlier and was just thwarted? Or is he taking advantage of the situation and hoping for a good hearted gullible driver to let him so he can pass everyone? As we travel farther along the merge ramp, the answers become more obvious and the distance between me and the car in front gets closer and closer. Still, early on the question remains, do I let the next guy in or do I keep them out to repay the guy who let me in?

There are some questions that Daddy just doesn't know best. I have done my best to strike a happy medium, but there probably have been many a driver cursing that they let me in and that I in turn let the entire automobile world in before us. You will have to find your own criteria and this will probably change day to day and mood to mood and car to car. Personally, my only consistent criteria is to not let in people with vanity plates and BMW or Lexus drivers. That is probably not very nice of me but you got to start somewhere. Hopefully by the time you start driving I will know better and be better prepared when you ask me what is the right thing to do.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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