lessons from driving | do you beep your horn?

The last time I beeped my car horn (other than the friendly little beeps to stop someone from reversing into you) was about 3 months after I got my licence. 

I was 18 years old and driving with my Dad to the local shops. A car was doing dumb things in the carpark – who knows what – they were in my way and not indicating any plans to get out of it. So I beeped. 

My dad told me off. I tried to defend myself with the usual stuff about the other driver being irresponsible or inconsiderate or incompetent. But he pushed back by asking, “but what will it do for them?”

Well, of course my hope was that it would reveal to them the error of their ways and lead them to be a more diligent, thoughtful driver in future. But even as I said it, the unlikelihood of that happening became clear. 

He said I would just make them angry, defensive, frustrated or stressed. And what is that going to mean for them? For the way they’ll drive out of here? For the attitude they’ll take into the rest of their day? For how they’ll drive or speak to their kids or act on the sporting field or speak to the sales assistant? 

Good questions right?

So, I have never beeped in aggression or frustration since.

That resolve was added to by the fact that when people beep at me in traffic I have been known to cry – like actually. I would never drive to be intentionally annoying and so I feel like they’ve misunderstood what I was doing – I want to pull over and explain myself to them. Or I have made an honest mistake and I am traumatised to have made someone mad. I need a lighted sign that says “sorry” so I can switch it on as they drive past.  

My resolve has been further added to as I’ve observed the high level of stress and aggression on the road (manifested in unbelievable and terrifying stories of road rage related violence) and the speed at which people can be prompted to frustration or anger. There appears to be a lot of people who live very near the edge of ignition and only need the smallest spark to erupt in flames. 

Ultimately, beeping at someone is unlikely to do anything positive. While it might satisfy my self-righteousness temporarily it hasn’t really contributed anything good to others or brought any real positive change to the world. 

How about you? Are you a beeper? To quote Dr Phil – “How’s that working for you?” 

let’s start at the very beginning

So I did it! I completed my first ever tap class!

I encountered an early set back when the tap shoes I ordered online arrived and were the wrong size! They were too small. 

But they’re so pretty!!!!

So I had to do my first class in my good old sneakers. Clearly, anything that I got wrong was because of my inferior footwear and not at all correlated with my skill level! It was nice to have that excuse squared away early. 

Miss Abbie is the teacher. She is excellent. She said lots of dance-y words and made us repeat them because then we will remember them and then we will know what they mean and do them and then we will be doing them and that is the goal. 

Mostly what you do is flap, brush, hitch and drag and then hop, skip & jump. Oh wait, no, not the last bit. Although if you do that with a little shuffle in the middle you may just get away with looking like you know what you’re doing. 

Early learning – just because you say it out loud doesn’t mean your feet will do it. But that didn’t stop me saying it out loud – perhaps too loud – and louder the less my feet were actually responding (maybe they just couldn’t hear me?). 

Silly sneakers. I’m sure the tap shoes will work better. 

old dog | new tricks 

“KimmE!?! Now tell me the truth! Is this a joke or are you for real?!”

That was the response from my little friend (6) when I told her I was starting tap lessons. I’m not sure which part of the idea she found more unbelievable but she asked many more times and many other people and I’m still not sure she believes me. 

But it’s true. I’m taking tap lessons. I ordered tap shoes on line. Things are getting real. 

So, “why tap lessons?” I hear you (me) ask. Well firstly, why not? But the other answers include for the fun, for the fitness, for the improving of my “pretend” tapping skills (although I think they’re pretty convincing) and for having something in my week to look forward to and connect me with others. Not to mention the joy I will bring the previous worst dancer in the group to know that mantle can be passed along to me, or the entertainment of those who will get to witness me in all my tapping-glory. 

But it does tap into (see what I did there?) a more fundamental value I have to always be learning, always growing; always stretching (literally and metaphorically). 

Learning a new skill, placing ourselves in a room where we’re not the smartest or most experienced, submitting to the leadership of others (rather than being the leader), being humbled by our inadequacy or in circumstances where we are less sure are all acts of discipline. The kind of disciplines that keep us moving forward in an upward growth trajectory. The kind that halt the stagnant regression that is the natural gravitational pull of our unattended selves. 

Tap classes start Feb 1st for me. When does your next lesson begin?