Logic and Emotion Have a Fight

Every week day, I drop my daughter off at her school first.  It’s easy.  Go through the roundabout, pull up to her school, watch her scurry out of the car and up to the building.  Done.  Move on.

At first, I would go to the ONE-WAY exit and attempt to pull out into traffic so I could go through the roundabout again to go to my school.  I hate it because I drive a small car and everyone around me seems to love driving trucks or minivans which means that when I’m “patiently” waiting at the stop sign (I’m actually panicking a little because I have this huge thing about getting to work early because if I’m early then I can’t be late), anyone who drives up to exit out of the other lane will usually block my vision.  Which is frustrating since I’m making a left turn and need to be able to see both directions.

But that’s a logical frustration which is easily relaxed. The person in the bigger vehicle makes his/her right turn.  The path is cleared.  I can see again.  I just have to wait a little longer and panic just a little more which is stupid since my school is less than a mile away and I am always early so I can’t be late.

Now, remember, though, that the exit is just that…an exit.  And it’s clearly marked by a minimum of two one-way signs and two “DO NOT ENTER” signs that show that, clearly, this is only an exit and….not an entrance.

Oops.  I was wrong.  Because a teacher at my daughter’s school has nearly caused an accident (namely nearly hitting my car) because she drove through the roundabout which clearly takes her past the entrance to the school so she can enter through the exit.

Maybe I wouldn’t care so much if I hadn’t felt like she was going to hit my car if I didn’t get out of her way.  And I’m pretty sensitive about stuff like that because my car is paid off and trying to even consider buying a new car right now is literally making me anxious which is not worth my time or energy.

But it really ticks me off because she is clearly ignoring the rules because….I think…she wants a better parking spot.

That’s it.  A parking spot.

When she and I were in a traffic stalemate, I deliberately pointed to the signs, pointed out that I was in a one-way exit with clearly marked DO NOT ENTER signs.  And she looked at me like I was clearly an idiot.  Which sort of enraged me even more because I will act like an idiot and will sometimes be an idiot, but when I’m following a traffic law to the fullest extent then I am clearly not being an idiot.

She refused to move.  She refused to acknowledge that the signs existed and that she was going in the wrong way.  So my son and I raged as we exited the exit and watched as the woman drove in through the entrance and parked her car as close to the building as possible.

She’s at the school every other day.  So every other day, my son and I will observe this woman drive through the roundabout which takes her past the entrance so that she can enter through the exit.

Logically, I understand wanting a parking spot relatively close to the building.  When I’m carrying several bags full of papers and books in addition to my computer and my lunch, it’s nice to have a short distance to walk.  When it’s pouring down rain and I don’t want everything to be soaked, I am incredibly grateful that I have  short distance to plod through the puddles.

But, at the same time, emotionally, I would prefer to have a spot just a little closer.  But, to do so, I would have to park in spots reserved for other people, like the handicapped spots…and I’m not handicapped.  So, logically, I park a row back and just walk and hope that my papers don’t get soaked or that I don’t lose my grip on my computer.  It’s not that big of a deal.

But, today, my children and I watched as the woman drove through the roundabout, yet again, and made her illegal turn, again, just to get that damn parking spot.  And my son started raging.  He’s furious that she would blatantly disobey the law just for a parking spot.  He’s furious that she  has allowed her emotions to trump logic,  because of convenience.

I am no legal angel.  I nearly ran a red light this morning.  I’m pretty certain I did it yesterday.  I don’t remember yesterday morning…I was still exhausted from the ER trip.  I’ve made plenty of illegal turns and sped at speeds that were a bit too high for the posted speed limit.  And I recognize that I’m going to sound hypocritical so…well…here goes.

Logic dictates that we follow the rules, so long as the rules are reasonable and not destructive towards the lives or property of others.  If a ruler creates a law that legitimizes genocide, I will be the first to stand up and say no.  Then I’m going to duck and cover and run as fast as I can so I can protect my kids.  And once they’re safe, I’ll come back out and continue fighting.

And emotionally, it’s easy to slide past the law when the law seems rather inconsequential.  Like entering through the exit.  She hasn’t hit me.  She hasn’t hit anyone.  And she usually gets to the school well before the majority of parents are arriving so she’s not causing any traffic problems.  She’s merely ticking me off.  Which is unreasonable for me to be so raging about such a minor issue.

Today, as my son raged, I talked with him about preconceptions, that we shouldn’t judge her because of her persistence in entering through the exit.  I told him that maybe she’s a lovely person, that she’s well-intentioned.   But the Boy talked about her choice, her constant choice to think only of herself and not others.  No matter how inconsequential it is.

And this got me thinking about that fight between logic and emotion.  Too often, I make decisions based on emotion and forget to analyze things through a logical lens.

When I’m tired, when I’m feeling something very strongly, I succumb to my emotions.  Cleaning the house can be dangerous for me.  I work hard all day and then come to a house that is generally in a state of wreckage.  And I get furious because it’s easy to pick up the laundry and put it away.  It’s easy to stack the dishes a little more neatly.  And no one seems to see how easy it would be to do this work.  So I get angry and start responding out of emotion.  I don’t address things logically.  I just fume and vent and…yeah.  I’ll stop here because I’m embarrassed.

Often, I have to take a step back and look at a situation logically, stop and analyze the course of action before I move or speak or act.  It’s important to me to strip the emotions away from what I am about to do and make sure that whatever decision I make is done with a sense of reality, that I can legitimize my decisions.

I keep on reminding myself that I live in a world that is not spinning around me, that I am not the focal point of the world.  This is when I realize that maybe I assigned too much homework.  And this is when I have to take a step back and reassess my actions, my choices, and then start the process of fixing what I have done.

It’s a bit humiliating to admit that I acted out of emotion and not logic.  It’s a bit humiliating to have to apologize or retract my original plans because they were in my best interest and not the interests of the greater good.  But, in the end, I know that I have made the better decision.  I have allowed my logic to thwak my emotions and act in a way that is more in accordance with what is right.

I try to play nicely with others.  I really do, but it’s still hard when people forget to play nicely with others.  Deliberately entering through the exit for the sake of a parking spot is frustrating.  Choosing to be bull-headed despite what the rules say is really hard for me to understand or legitimize.

I have to admit, the Boy and I have thought about deliberately parking in that woman’s spot just to irk her.  But it won’t solve anything.  It will only make the situation worse because it’s nothing more than me laying claim to something that, in the end isn’t mine.  But, maybe, just maybe, she’ll realize that putting others at danger for convenience is not logical.

Of course, she might just park next to me and not change at all….


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