Keeping perspective on the road

Published 10:32 pm Monday, January 27, 2014

Almost an hour after the beginning of Saturday’s Nansemond River Pilot Club Womanless Beauty Pageant, some folks — including a judge for the event — were still arriving.

The reason for their delay was a fatal accident on U.S. Route 58 headed into Suffolk, where practically anybody coming from a point east of Suffolk and headed toward the event was squeezing into one lane to get around the two-lane closure.

I saw one girl who appeared to have tears in her eyes as she took her seat. The final judge to arrive took his seat with his plate of food as the competition was getting started, and his demeanor made it obvious he was grateful to be alive.

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As word spread that the accident killed a 27-year-old man, participants at the event took a moment of silence to remember him.

At the same time, users on the Suffolk News-Herald’s Facebook page were commenting on how long it took them to get past the backup, and others berated them for caring about what time they got home when somebody had died. I’m willing to give that first set of folks the benefit of the doubt and assume they were merely trying to keep others informed.

Even so, the reaction some folks can have to serious situations is appalling.

It really doesn’t matter how long it took you to get around the wreck that killed a young man. It really doesn’t matter if you sat in the emergency room for three hours with a stomachache while someone else was treated for a heart attack. It really doesn’t matter if you stand in line at the grocery store too long when the person in front of you is deleting items from their order to meet their meager food budget for the week.

It’s all about perspective. You’ve heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” In a similar way, “One man’s inconvenience is another man’s life-changing event.”

The traffic on busy and dangerous roads here in Suffolk, especially Route 58, Route 460 and Nansemond Parkway, isn’t getting any lighter. Let’s all be extra vigilant, treat one another with respect and try to keep some perspective — both literally and figuratively — on the roads.