One of my (unofficial) New Year’s resolutions is to be less road rage-y. But it’s not that simple. It’s not that I just have to calm my temper, or be less spiteful towards other drivers, or be less frustrated when I hit a string of five red lights in a row. I need to do an overhaul of other parts of my life to succeed.
The reason I get road rage-y has nothing to do with driving or getting stopped by a train or getting stuck behind a school bus or a slow driver. It’s because I’m terrible at time management. You would think that 5 years of running my own business and keeping appointments on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis would have made me better. Hell, you’d think 5 years of retail working before that would have made me better. If anything it’s made me more skilled at getting away with being terrible at it. I’m better at zig-zagging through traffic, better at racing in at the eleventh hour, better at quickly scouring the area for a parking spot so I can run in a mere 5 minutes late rather than 10. Not only is it rather dangerous but I’m probably skimming a good 5 years off my life from the stress it induces.
For example, say I have a lunch meeting with a client at 12:00pm in downtown Portland. The logical part of my brain knows that while traffic won’t be terrible, it will be a little busier than 10:00am or 1:00pm. It knows that parking won’t be terrible, but I’ll have to drive around a little bit to find a spot unless I know of a super closeby garage. It knows that I should leave 30 minutes before my meeting because a 12-minute regular drive time + 5 extra minutes for traffic + 3 minutes for parking = 20 minutes with a nice 10 minute buffer. But the insane part of my brain thinks… well, it doesn’t think anything. All it wants is for me to squeeze in as much as I can before I run out the door. It wants me to get distracted online, to write one last e-mail, to message one last person on Facebook, to finish that episode of Workaholics… and then oops, it’s 11:30 and I don’t have my shoes on, don’t have my bag ready, don’t have my other eyeliner wing drawn on. So I rush through these things, half-assing them, and literally run out the door. By the time I leave it’s 11:43 and I know I’m not going to make it, so I’m already stressed and frustrated. Every red light I hit is maddening. Every car that’s going even slightly below the speed limit is infuriating. Not to mention the fact that a whole number of unpredictable things — a flat tire, a train, a car accident — would slow me down to the point that I’d be unacceptably late.
The other day I was driving somewhere in a similar state of mind. I was sitting at a light when a car in the opposing lane — completely unrelated to me or anything I was doing — honked at someone. And you know what I did? I MOCKED THE HORN NOISE. I repeated the noise in that mocking, sing-song voice because I was so annoyed by it. And then I stopped at another light and the guy behind me was laughing like crazy — most likely on the phone or listening to something — but I inexplicably wanted to punch that guy because how DARE HE BE HAPPY WHILE I’M SO ANNOYED AND HOW IS THIS ANOTHER RED LIGHT?
Point being… I need to clean up my act this year because driving in the car is awesome (especially when I am listening to Iggy Azalea as I often am) and it should be a pleasurable experience, right? RIGHT?