The Joy of a Traffic Jam

At the beginning of the school year on most mornings, I would drive the hubby and little guy to school in upper Manhattan. I didn’t mind it so much because we got to spend quite a bit of time together since traffic is awful in the morning. What would be a 35-40 minute drive without traffic (though I don’t think that circumstance ever exists) can span anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Not to mention the trip back home.

I haven’t driven them in quite a while because public transportation has proven more reliable than morning traffic in getting them to school on time. Nevertheless, this morning, the little guy woke up almost an hour later than usual. I tried everything to get him up -rubbing his back, stroking his head, turning on all the lights. Nothing worked. Finally we just let his little sis loose on him and she poked his face and hugged him until he woke up. So I drove them in.

 

As we exited the Battery Tunnel and all the crazy traffic was zooming around us, Louis mentioned how he was listening to a podcast of Russell Brand this morning. During the interview he spoke about how he (Russell) tries to be the best in the different roles he has in his life – father, celebrity, student, driver. Using driver as an example, he said the ideal driver would be – patient and courteous. “Wow,” I thought. I never looked at being a driver that way.

 

I’m not really one who experiences road rage often. It’s only when I see someone do something especially careless that I get really upset. Still, I do often take it personally when someone uses the shoulder to cut in front of me in heavy traffic, or when someone honks at me because I didn’t take my foot off the brake fast enough when the light turned green. 

Honestly, my strategy for dealing with those situations to keeping my sanity is not nearly as enlightened or as graceful as Russell’s. Most of the time, when someone cuts me off or honks I say outloud, “Maybe he has diarrhea and that’s why he’s in such a hurry.” I don’t say or think to myself that maybe they have an emergency and are going to the hospital because 1. that’s not funny and 2. if they’re alone, they’re probably not driving themselves to the ER. So my strategy almost always lightens the mood for me and I can go on with my drive. My other strategy is to say to myself “I’m not going to let him steal my peace.” This works too, but it’s not nearly as entertaining as imagining that other driver racing home to the bathroom.

That being said, I think Russell might be onto something. Wouldn’t it be an amazing to be surrounded by patient and courteous drivers?! Wouldn’t it be amazing to BE one of those amazing and courteous drivers?! So as much as it stinks (no pun intended?) to be stuck in traffic, maybe you (and I) can be that ideal driver when you’re out in your car, if even just for a moment. I would imagine that would bring some joy to your day!

Do you have any strategies for avoiding or dealing with road rage? Share them in the comments below!

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