Morality and the Holiday Season

Ah, the Holidays, the season when our hearts overflow with goodwill toward our fellow man. Well, maybe some hearts have little capacity for joy.

The scene yesterday was the overflowing parking lot at a suburban Atlanta mall. Lines of cars waited impatiently for shoppers to empty spaces and make room for new arrivals. I was second in line behind a Beamer with its turn signal indicating an intention to take a soon-to-be-vacant spot near the head of the row. The exiting car moved slowly and awkwardly, avoiding contact with the Beamer that had left it too little room to maneuver. That mistake allowed a crafty woman approaching from the opposite direction to zip into the spot ahead of the Beamer.

The Beamer driver shouted obscenities as the crafty woman closed her car door. She responded with a middle finger and a haughty shake of long red curls. That was too much for the Beamer driver. He jerked his car behind the woman’s car, trapping her. As she stared contemptuously, he jumped out of his Beamer, grabbed her keys from her offending hand, and, aping a high school quarterback, threw them as far as he could across the parking lot rows.

Yelling, “There’s your lump of coal,” the Beamer driver got back into his chariot, reclaimed his position ahead of me, and drove toward the exit. No doubt he had had all the Holiday cheer he needed for one day.

As the woman spun in circles looking for confirmation that this unbelievable occurrence had actually happened to her, the car beside her pulled out and I pulled into the space. Had the two actors in this parking lot drama been just a bit more patient, both would have had spaces and I would still be circling the lot. Their churlish behavior reminded me of a passage from my novel, Defiled.

Defense attorney Tony Zambrano, commiserating with Randle over his wife’s churlish behavior, said, “Morality is the position you hold on abortion before your teenaged daughter gets pregnant. After that we all behave in our self-interest.”

Zambrano can be forgiven for his cynical view of human nature as he saw clients at their darkest hour, but the people in the parking lot have no such excuse. It’s the Holidays, people, so for just a week, be nice to your fellow man.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

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