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Driving myself crazy

As you get to know me, you’ll quickly discover one of my pet peeves to be the other drivers on the roads. Yes, I suppose I am one of those Type A drivers who has little or no patience for people who can’t decide which way to turn, who won’t accept responsibility for the eventual decision by following through and correcting later, and who expect me to adjust my position so they can drift onto the highway in front of me.

This morning’s commute to the office was an especially aggravating series of incompetent drivers. I gifted myself with 30 minutes of additional sleep this morning after turning on the news and hearing our local weatherman talk about low temps on an April morning. Suddenly my mattress became the most comfortable it’s ever been, the covers were just the right weight, and my body was the perfect temperature. If it hadn’t been for Lulu, the resident feline to whom I belong, I might still be snoozing peacefully. On the rare occasions that I consciously – or unconsciously as in a state of slumber – choose to go later, I know that my journey will be more like that of the salmon swimming upstream. But sometimes it’s worth the risk – at least it is when I’m snug in bed. At 6:29 AM I noticed Lulu was sitting on my shoulder (I’m a side sleeper), touching my face with her soft little paw….that had probably just been covering her latest deposit in the litter box. It works every time, and she knows it.

I cranked my body to a sitting position on the edge of the bed, and the routine began. I knew that it would be at least 45 minutes before I’d be ready to back the car out of the garage. Fifty-five minutes later I was doing just that. One of my techniques for diffusing my travel temperament is to listen to books on CD while I drive. I find that listening doesn’t distract me too much, and if the story is engaging enough, I am much more tolerant of the travelers around me. So today I made sure the latest crime novel I’m listening to was playing before I ever left the driveway.

As I pulled up to the exit of my condo community, 2 high school students walking away from the school sauntered in front of me. As I pulled out on the neighborhood street, a woman in a minivan (someday I’ll share my thoughts on this driver type all by itself) slowly pulled out in front of me…of course, no one was behind me. Despite the recurring fantasy of ramming the rear end of this type of driver, I braked to spare myself the time and effort involved for a fender bender. Meanwhile, I missed the chopper crash details in my book because I was ranting and shaking my fist.

As we both proceeded west on the main drag, Ms. Minivan dawdled just enough to make it through the light, leaving me with no alternative but to crash the red or stop. Again….I stopped. The problem with this particular thoroughfare is that once you get stopped at one light, you get them all. I don’t understand the logic for this type of traffic management and suspect the term I just used to be an oxymoron at best. Wait! Did the author resolve the relationship with the dead man’s wife? Crap, I missed it….probably when I was swerving around the indecisive jerk. And so it continued.

Indecision about which way to turn, taking up two lanes in the process. Staring at green lights instead of moving forward. Clueless use of the acceleration lane of the freeway, thereby jamming up right-lane traffic. Conversely, running full speed on the on-ramp and rudely cutting right-lane travelers off to be at the head of the line. More red lights. Bicyclists. More red lights. My extra 30 minutes cost me an additional 30 in commute time, the whole way I was cursing, grumping and groaning. When I pulled in the parking space at the office, I heard, “We hope you enjoyed listening to….”

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