Jetlag, Coffee, and Round-a-bouts

Have you every been severely jet lagged and desperately in need of coffee?  I have been many times, especially when I travel to Australia with my family of young kids ... lots of them! 

Definitely not the popular family to sit next to on a 20+ hour trip!

The only saving grace is that Australia has really good coffee. I remember one particular trip where, the day after we arrived, I rolled out of bed still with the tire marks of the 18-wheeler truck that drove over my face in the middle of the night (license plate "JETLAG").  I crawled to my car and somehow remembered to drive on the opposite side of the road, making it safely to a coffee shop to order a flat white (which translates to 'latte' in North American speak).  

Warm coffee in hand, and an equally warm smile starting to melt into my face, I headed back to my car and began visualizing being home and enjoying the sweet nectar. My fantasy turned to torment though when, as I was traveling through the round-a-bout (a circular 4-way stop), a car pulled in front of me and cut me off.  The driver, my tormentor, then rolled down his window and started yelling at me.

I passed all of my mental checks and assessment of the situation. Was I driving on the right side of the road?  Was I using the round-a-bout correctly? Was my door open?

I wasn't doing anything wrong!  I was convinced!  And so, I rolled down my window and began yelling and screaming back and told the other driver where to go. He flipped me a sign telling me what he thought of me (no translation necessary) and drove off in a storm, as did I, taking out my frustration on the accelerator. It was only 1 second later that I realized my mistake. I had left my coffee on the roof of the car, and now with the sudden acceleration, it came crashing down on my window and my sweet, beautiful nectar was wasted on the ground.

At least, that is how things would have ended had I not spent the last ten years working on controlling my emotions. 

Every part of the story is accurate, except for the part where I rolled down my window and started yelling. I did in fact roll down my window and, rather than yell, I suppressed my anger at the situation, resisted yelling, and sweetly asked what seemed to be the problem. At which point the driver of the car that cut me off proceeded to point at my roof and yell "your coffee is on the roof". 

My tormentor became my savior and the rest of my day was much more pleasant.  Not only because I got to enjoy my coffee, but also because it always feels good when a random stranger does something nice for you.