It has been well-documented that I’m a rule follower. I get irritated when others skirt the rules or blatantly disregard them.
I’m also a rule enforcer and currently serve on two community Covenants Committees. I enjoy the power of enforcing rules and righting wrongs.
Sometimes it’s not an easy job. There are cases when it’s difficult to determine responsibility, and there is no ideal solution. But there are plenty of cases where the right answer is obvious to everyone but the rule breaker.
Woes on the Road
This obvious situation occurs each time I see cars drive in the red X lane on I-66 in Northern Virginia. I’ve written about this before.
I think a red X is a fairly universal sign for NO. And judging by the speed of the drivers whizzing past me as I sit in the proper traffic lanes, they know it’s wrong too.
It’s infuriating because I’m not a rule enforcer on the road. I see wrongs all the time and am unable to do anything but get upset about it. And getting upset really only punishes me.
Yes, of course I should be zen and avoid judgement, but who are we kidding? I’m a judger! My Myers-Briggs type is ISTJ. That’s J for Judging.
But I finally saw a red X lane offender get caught! A wave of joy rushed over me. Ah, the vindication.
What Does That Say About Me?
Is this reaction schadenfreude or justice? Am I reveling in the pain of others, or am I happy because the rules prevailed?
I like to think I’m a pretty good person overall. But there are tons of statistics showing that most people tend to think they are smarter, nicer, prettier, etc. than average. So I suppose self-assessment can be flawed especially in my generation where everyone gets a trophy. (Do you know how many swimming participation trophies exist in my parents’ basement??? Let’s just say I was a graceful swimmer. But being short didn’t help with my speed, and no one gives points for a beautiful stroke in swimming races.)
Can I actually be a good person and find joy in others receiving traffic tickets? I think so. After all, it’s just to punish those who break the law in a law-abiding society. We need order, structure, and respect for rules.
My Saving Grace
It’s ideal that my commute is only from my kitchen to my second bedroom (aka home office) and not a daily drive where I would have ample irritation in reaction to law breakers. Is it so wrong to crave justice?
- Would you define this as schadenfreude or justice?
- Have you had a similar situation?
- What’s your biggest woe on the road?
- Are you a judger?