It was snowing as I was driving home from work tonight. I will admit that I am something of a snow wimp even with the new tires on my car. I was driving at 40mph in a 45mph zone which on a snowy night isnt really all *that* slow, imho. There was a car tailgating me and I tried to ignore it but after a while, I realized that it was only inches from my rear bumper which kind of made me nervous and ok...a little pissed off. So I slowed down a bit hoping the guy would get the hint and back off. He didnt but because I slowed down, we both ended up getting caught at a red light we might have otherwise made. As soon as the light turned green and before I had a chance to move my foot onto the gas pedal, the guy started honking at me. The road opened up to two lanes in my direction by the next light. I caught a glimpse of him flipping me off as his Audi raced by. I flipped him off back but he couldnt see me because he was already past me.
I got to thinking about the level of entitlement that guy obviously was feeling. Entitled to the road. A feeling I admit to having myself sometimes. I know how really annoying other drivers can be. But still, why would he and to a lesser extent, me, have such feelings?
I was reminded of a recent episode at my work. I work for a large company in tech support. My team is currently very short handed and I am swamped. It would take me at least two weeks to get to the current cases waiting for my attention if I didnt get new ones every day. People have to wait for *weeks* to get some pretty annoying things fixed. Sometimes it takes days to get to anything less than a dire emergency.
But last week the CEO of the company had a problem. A problem so minor that if it were happening to my computer, I might just ignore it. Basically it has to do with the recent changes to Daylight Saving Time (It's been moved from April to the middle of March). But, minor as it is, it is a problem happening to the CEO. So, the next thing I know, my boss has me put the issue at the top of list -- highest priority! And the next thing I know, half of the IT department is holding meetings about this and running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
I cant exactly blame them for the reaction. I mean, the guy does have power over us all and could fire any one of us at any time. It got me thinking though about an article I read years ago written by some guy at the medical school at Cornell about a condition he called Acquired Situational Narcissism. The article was about how when a person becomes famous, people start treating them like they are VERY IMPORTANT and eventually, they develop symptoms of narcissism. I guess the idea is that because everyone around them is treating them like they are VERY IMPORTANT, they start to believe that they are better than everyone else.
I am not saying that the CEO at my company is like that. I have no idea if he is. I have never met him. But it got me thinking. Is this why so many rich white guys seem to act so entitled all the time? Maybe when they are driving at night on a snowy road behind a ten year old Volkswagen? Is this why guys like those executives at Enron can lie and steal and ruin other people's lives and still not get it that doing that is wrong? Would *I* start acting like a jerk if I were in their place? I like to think not, of course, but I dont really know.