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Beep Beep

The other day I was driving my Prius, and I heard another car blow its horn.  My first reaction was to look to see why they were blowing it, and I began to wonder if that were a normal reaction.  Perhaps I had done something illegal or otherwise irritating.  Were they blowing at me?   How would someone else initially respond when they heard the same sound?  I concluded that the possible reactions to this situation actually represent different types of drivers

The first type of driver, the friendly driver, will probably wave when he hears another driver honk his horn, thinking that the sound is a light-hearted “hello” directed at him. This driver is a naturally pleasant fellow who is unaccustomed to having enemies and will probably toot back.  It never occurs to him that the gesture is a warning of some kind,  because it goes against his very nature to do anything intentionally that would cause offense to someone else.  His sanguine personality invokes a warm, enthusiastic response to the people around him, and he assumes they feel the same way about him.

The defensive driver has more of a knee-jerk reaction.  He shakes his fist, gestures, and  blames the other driver instead of evaluating himself to see if he is at fault.  His attitude is one of “get out of my way.”  Ironically, though he considers the other driver to be rude and impatient for blowing at him, it is actually the defensive driver who more often exhibits these traits.  This is the domineering, independent personality of a choleric individual.

The driver whose immediate response is “I’m sorry” is the contrite driver.  His melancholy nature causes him to be insecure and to doubt himself in both this and other situations.  He tends to second-guess his decisions and driving ability, and likely has a negative and critical view of himself. He will analyze the situation to determine what he did to deserve to have the horn blare at him. If he determines he is indeed at fault, he might slow down or accelerate to avoid the driver he has offended because the attention he has drawn to himself by making an error embarrasses him.

Finally, the indifferent driver is in a class by himself.  While the friendly driver, defensive driver, and contrite driver all assume the beeping horn  is directed at them, the indifferent driver assumes the horn is being blown at someone else.  This is the person who enters the highway, accidentally cuts in front of an oncoming car, and never looks back when he hears the horn.  He never even notices that he almost caused a wreck.  A person who has this phlegmatic-type personality is calm and easy-going, and he is oblivious to his own shortcomings on the road.
The lesson we learn from examining the different types of drivers is one that can be translated into other areas of our lives.  It is important for us to recognize what type of “driver” we are.  By understanding our own strengths and weaknesses, we are better equipped to cooperate with our friendly, defensive, contrite, and indifferent acquaintances.  In the end, life’s highway can be maneuvered much more easily if we are able to work together and understand each other.

This is an example of a classification paper.  A classification paper breaks down a subject into distinct divisions.  The introduction includes the thesis and introduces the divisions of the topic.  A paragraph is devoted to each division, and the conclusion restates the thesis and concludes the essay.  Each paragraph should include a label for that division, examples, descriptions, characteristics and/or illustrations.

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