On The Tone Of One’s Voice

Late last week, armed only with a headlamp while on an early morning run, I approached the col de Merc (antile Store) in pitch blackness. I vaguely saw something coming right at me in the middle of the lux bike lane, but couldn’t make it out until it got closer. It was a speeding bro dressed in very dark clothes on a very dark bike. He had just descended the col de Merc and was flying when I yelled “GET A LIGHT!” at him. He didn’t u-turn to (try to) kick my ass because he had headphones in.

Maybe he took the Mariners-Astros series too hard and wanted to end it.

Fast forward to yesterday’s early morning pitch black run. I could feel a car behind me as I turned into our hood so I made sure to hug the left shoulder so they had ample room for their left-hand turn. A middle aged man driving a beater Nissan Sentra pulled up right next to me and rolled down his window. “Okay,” I said to myself, “it’s on like Donkey Kong.” Ask Dan, Dan, the Transpo Man, when my heart rate is elevated, I sometimes morph from chillaxed pacifist to too easily triggered numbskull.

He had a kind look on his face and his soft voice was that of a Zen Buddhist. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know, you’re really hard to see from behind.” It wasn’t so much what he said, but HOW he said it. His tone conveyed genuine concern for my well-being.

When I yelled at my dark, speeding, headphoned “friend”, my tone was way, way more self-regarding. “Don’t be an arse,” my shout conveyed, “you easily coulda ran me over.”

Think about how you say things, and be the Zen Buddhist driver, not me.

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