Arriving a few minutes early for the Friday 5:00 meeting, I watched the following events unfold. There were a few other AA's already present, and the room was filled with several comfortable "pre-meeting" conversations.
A newer member came barreling into the room, obviously very upset. He was a big, working man in early middle age who had joined our AA group only a few weeks earlier. His shirt was drenched with sweat, and his face was red with exasperation.
Several of the group's members approached him, asking what had incited him to such an obviously troubled state of mind. He began an account of the conditions he had experienced on his way to meeting.
"The damned delivery truck just stopped! The thing was double parked and it was blocking half of the damned street. Then the bitch in the Chrysler pulled up behind it and wouldn't pass! She wouldn't just drive around the damned truck! The whole street was blocked, and I couldn't move. I was just stopped while the whole street was blocked! The idiot behind me kept honking and honking. He was waving his fist at me -- I could see it in my rear view mirror! Honking and honking -- shaking his damned fist!"
Now, I could understand a little of what he was saying. It was at least 90 degrees outside, and the Friday rush hour traffic was terrible -- no doubt, probably all across the city. The new man's diatribe rolled on and on, repeating slightly more excited versions of all the outrages over and over. Rather than calming down a little, it seemed as though he was continuing to get even more upset. On the other hand, I knew that the man lived only a few blocks from our group's meeting room.
After a few minutes, this new member's sponsor arrived for the meeting. An older man, he was the image of serenity as he ambled into the room. In his case, I knew that he had driven -- through the same stifling heat and irritating traffic -- all the way across town. His old pick up had no air conditioner. He was wearing a light jacket and his usual beret style cap.
When the new member saw his sponsor ambling into meeting room in such a cool, calm, collected state, he exploded. Confronting the older man, he angrily demanded, "Why is everything so damned easy for you?! How in the hell do you do it?"
Although he had missed the beginning of the new man's tirade, this seasoned AA correctly surmised what the new man had already been protesting to the rest of us. The seasoned AA's answer remains with me to this day.
Through a peaceful smile, the sponsor answered,
"It's easy. I only drive one car."