TASK #38 – Driving Miss Crazy
Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn’t block traffic. Dan Rather
Bad traffic is as much a part of American life as bad reality television. It doesn’t matter if you live in Cleveland, Ohio, or Cleveland, Mississippi, you have to deal with the harsh reality of a car in your face and a car on your ass. And in my opinion it’s worse in the suburbs than the city, because most suburbs were designed to be less densely populated than the cities they surround, and the transportation infrastructure was constructed accordingly. Unfortunately, suburbs ARE densely populated, but the roads haven’t been updated.
The open road is a myth…
What I’m saying is that no matter where you live, traffic sucks. I spend every day of my miserable life stuck in traffic. I’m always late, I usually have to take a piss, I’m often stuck behind a bus, and there’s always some asshole trying to cram his f–ing car in front of me.
That’s when I get mad. My blood boils. I’m not letting anyone cut in front of me, no matter what. I creep within an inch of the car’s bumper in front of me, but this dude in a Dodge Omni (piece of shit) is determined to scoot up and edge in. He pushes the front of his car toward the crack between me and the car in front in front of me–I don’t give. I look over. He’s cursing at me. I don’t care.
And I don’t back off. The Omni gets within a hair of my car. He beeps at me. I ignore him. He finally backs off and he slips in behind me–which makes things even more uncomfortable for me because I can feel him staring. And he tailgates me, and I stomp on the brakes to jolt him–which it does–and really makes him mad.
And this goes on like this for about fifteen minutes. When the other guy finally gets to where he’s going, he jets around me and gives me the finger and disappears. And I’m ready to follow him and beat the crap out of him.
But thank God I didn’t.
That night I realized that I needed to find a way to relax behind the wheel. I didn’t want to end up as a story on the eleven o’clock news.
So I found a way. Now you can too.
Get in your car. Drive around . Be completely and utterly courteous, kind and patient. Stay at or under the speed limit. Wave at strangers. Let someone cross the street in front of you. Don’t race through a yellow light. And for God’s sake, let someone cut in front of you. They’ll nod or wave to you. The first time I tried this task I lasted 15 minutes before I lost my shit. The second time I made it almost a half hour.
Figure out how to relax. Breathe. Pay attention to the radio. Put a note on the dashboard that says “chill”, or something like that.
Repeat every day for a week. And the week after that. And one day you’ll make it to work without a flip-out. It’ll feel good, trust me.
Photo by Tom Hilton