My commute is approximately ten miles and takes approximately fifteen minutes one way. I rarely have to stop at traffic lights and I use two roads to get to and from. It is mostly highway with little to no traffic on the best of days. Compared to the commute of some “city folk” my daily drive is a joke, a quick trip to the corner store. Yet every day, like today, I find myself overcome with unspeakable road rage. “Why?” you ask. Simple: other people.
I mean, really, do these other people need to be going somewhere the exact time every day that I am (at 5pm)? Can’t the Sunday drivers just stay home until the normal commuters make their way home? Is that too much to ask??
Take today as an example. I was leisurely making my way home, minding my own business and feeling the calm peace that falls upon me when I know I’ll be seeing my two best guys: my husband and our furry, four-legged, special needs dog (a tale for another blog). While successfully plodding along my way I am passed by a small Saturn. “Great!” I think “I’ll just pull out and follow him along as we happily pass the slower vehicles. I’ll be home to see my guys in no time!” (Even though I am anxious to get home I do feel the need to be behind a faster vehicle. After all the cops always get the leader, right?) (For those of you thinking: “But her commute is ONLY fifteen minutes long! Surely, she can have enough patience for that! To you I say: I will take every opportunity to shave even a half second off to be with my boys.) As I pull out behind him to pass the car in front of me, he forgets where the gas pedal is located. We become stuck beside the car in the right lane. Not passing, not pulling back in behind him….suspended….beside him.
I have nowhere to go. If I pass on the right I’ll be stuck behind the car in the right lane. If I stay I am stuck behind the Saturn. Soon other cars begin to dam up behind me. We have, perhaps, made a gain on the other car of about one inch. My Christian, peaceful attitude flies out the window and runs headlong into the back of the Saturn. Inside my car, the expletives start to flow.
“What the heck!” I scream. (I know, I know, but I AM Christian after all.) As we meander along in our suspended state my brain explodes as I realize my exit is fast approaching.
I swerve left and right trying to get the Saturn’s attention. Doesn’t he know the situation? He stares at me in the rearview mirror as if to say: “I say, that car behind me seems to be having issues. I’m glad I’m in front of her.” I do my best to avoid running him and his smug attitude off the road. But what will I do about my exit? We have finally passed the first car, but now the distance to the next vehicle is such that I cannot pass the Saturn on the right for I’ll still be stuck behind the next car in the right lane!
And there is my exit! My brain assesses the situation and I consider dropping back behind the other car—giving up the coveted few inches I have obtained since making this foul choice. And then, suddenly, the Saturn moves to the right lane. I speed past him, swerve my car into the right lane and take my exit.
At the stop sign I sit and consider my trauma. How did that attitude accomplish anything? Wouldn’t I have gotten home just as quickly had I just patiently waited?
I make my turn and head towards home, sans traffic and sluggish Saturns, vowing to keep my anxiety in check tomorrow.
Unless, of course, some other nimrod happens to come between me and my boys.