Boy, it has been a while

I do apologize for disappearing. Life has a way of making things disappear. Like my tolerance for traffic! But today on my ways to and from work, I attempted a new strategy — chilling the fuck out.

Normally I like to get to where I’m going at the fastest speed possible because, well, fast is fun. It’s not that I’m running late all the time, I just like to drive quickly all the time. But in the desperate need to break speed limit laws, I tend to get stuck falling down an endless pit of anger, frustration, profanity, hatred (and of course, despair). It’s probably bad for my overall well-being that I get trapped in a cycle of questioning the meaning of life every time I venture onto the roads. Thus, I attempted to chill the fuck out… and you know what… it actually worked. I’d be stuck in a line of people at a light, and where I would have angrily cut into the other lane to pass them all, I would just say to myself “that’s fine, no need to be anywhere this very second.” To my own amazement it worked, and my commute went relatively pain-free today.

So, I’ve decided to return to my blog with suggestions on how to remain calm in the face of terrifying, terrible, treacherous, and torpid traffic.

1.) Listen to music. It’s a lot nicer to sit at a light or be stuck behind a giant line of people for whatever reason when a good song is playing. Whether it’s music you bring yourself or something’s that playing on the radio, turn that shit up and calm the fuck down. Sing along if you want. Dance in your car if you want. Whatever takes you to a happy place, get on it.

2.) Affirmations. Just repeat to yourself “There is no reason I need to be at my destination this very minute” or “calm down, you’ll get to your destination eventually” or “this isn’t the Oregon Trail, you don’t have to rest for three days until conditions improve.” Of course, this only works if you’re legitimately not running late for anything. If you are running late for something incredibly important, then you’re s.o.l.

3.) Take in the sights. You’re probably not looking around much on your daily commute, so take those times when you’re stuck in traffic to look around you. You might find some cool things, like a pretty tree you never noticed before or a hole-in-the-wall shop that you might want to check out some time. Granted, not all commutes are pretty, but do your best.

4.) Meditate. If you’re into that kind of thing. Just don’t close your eyes for too long…

5.) Think about stuff. Happy or productive stuff, though. Things like what groceries you need to get, ideas for a project at work or school, clever ways to ask out that guy or girl you’ve been eyeing for a while, what to have to dinner, and where you’d want to go for vacation. Avoid things like how your life is being wasted away sitting in traffic or how you could have avoided being stuck behind that accident had you taken a different route home after work.

Try some of these techniques while out on the road… maybe it’ll make your drive a little less stressful.

Also, now that’s nice out, I need to try and not swear aloud so much while I drive because people might hear me when I have the windows down.

Also also:


Why San Francisco (and pretty much any major city) sucks.

So, I was in San Francisco last week for a Car and Driver event, and I was painfully reminded how much city driving sucks.  It’s the horrific combination of hundreds of thousands of cars attempting to travel on 4 lane roads, stop lights every 50 meters, and pedestrians out the wazoo.  Not to mention tolls to enter and exit the city, and the catastrophe that happens when you realize you need to make a left instead of a right and you have to attempt to get across 5 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic or risk getting lost.

And honestly, there isn’t a way to fix it.  Yes, people using public transportation, walking, or walking to public transportation might help, but only minimally.  Perhaps I’ll have another post on why public transportation doesn’t work, but I digress.

  • If you happen to find yourself in a big-city-driving situation, never ever ever be in a hurry.  Make sure you leave LOTS of time to get where you’re going because there will most likely be a traffic jam, a crash, a long line at a toll, or some other disaster that will cause you to lose precious minutes of your life sitting in your car trying to find a decent radio station to listen to and moving at the blistering speed of 5 miles per hour.
  • You should also know where the hell you’re going.  Having a GPS system can only help so much.  If it doesn’t direct you very well, then you’ll end up getting on some other freeway that you didn’t want to be on and you’ll end up lost and in a bad part of the city.  If you have paper directions, include the maps.  If you have a navigator with you, make sure that communication is clear so that everyone can keep their cool and not ruin the day by being pissed at each other.
  • The native city driver is an aggressive one.  Watch out for them.
  • I would like to argue that health in cities is bad not from air pollution, but  rather it is caused by the stress of driving in such a shitty environment.

Yet some people absolutely love cities, and that’s all fine and dandy for them.  I am not a member of that cult, and I’m sure many others aren’t as well.  And sadly, many of the city-haters must drive in a city at some point.  Maybe there is a way to fix the horrible congestion on bridges in and out of cities.  I think that solution is probably driving at 2 in the morning, but that’s not very practical.  It’s just the nature of the beast.  I think here’s another place where the “Keep Calm and Drive On” picture could go…..