Is everyone really THAT excited to get to work?

My morning commute is tops, 10 minutes. I’d like to say they’re a relaxing 10 minutes that get my day started off on the right foot, but that hasn’t always been the case. I have managed to take better control of the situation though, and try to use my commute to my advantage. I listen to calming Zen music every morning which tends to declutter my mind; the sound of waterfalls and birds chirping do, for the most part, help drown out the maniacs on the road. When things were really out of control, I was cranking Jazz music like crazy. At one point, we used our commute to discuss books we were reading- our version of a mini book club.

Why are people in such a hurry to get to work or wherever it is they’re going? Do people just not have an off button anymore? I don’t know if this is just a trend in the city I live in, but I’ve noticed that the “in” thing to do is not stop. For example, if I’m about to turn into my workplace and begin to slow down, rather than the person behind me also slowing down, they’ll just cut someone off in the other lane, and switch lanes – no need to stop. I see this happen all the time. If you see a signal on a car, quick, cut someone else off so you don’t to have to waste so much of your precious time stopping for another person. Some of these people almost seem even mad that I’m turning. How dare I turn! You know who I’m talking about…the person who does that quick jerk-like move of their car into the other lane simply because you’ve forced them to slow down for a few seconds.  Are we really at a place in time where we get personally offended by someone who might slow us down for a mere few seconds?


Here’s proof that driving like an impatient maniac gets you nowhere faster. On the way home from my sister’s work, a man driving like he was on a mission, caught our attention. At the first red light, he was behind us. Then,  he abruptly did the switcharoo into the other lane, and took off like a bat out of hell. We continued to drive along until…we met the same car again at the next red light. Oh, it’s you. Hi! Green light – poof! He’s outta there. My sister and I were chatting, having a pleasant drive and conversation, but, we couldn’t help but notice the same guy speeding up ahead, changing lanes every three seconds, cutting people off left and right. Eventually, we lost sight of him until…the next red light. No way! It’s you?  Again? This happened at every light along the way, so much so, that my sister and I began laughing about it. We pictured him in his car, sweating up a storm, anxious and in a rush, mad at all of the drivers on the road, probably cursing up a storm while we were all relaxed and calm in ours, having a wonderful conversation and quite a few laughs….at his expense. Even when we lost sight of his car for a while, he would, eventually, turn up again. We met this car all the way up until we had to turn to get off that road.

I’m sure that man thought he was a real master of his domain, that his driving skills would allow him to get to his destination a whole lot faster than the rest of us. Did they? Nope. And I guarantee you, we had a much more pleasurable experience on the road in our car, than he did in his. So I ask, what’s the point? Why in such a hurry? Slow down. Enjoy the drive. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the company of the person who’s with you. Enjoy your own company. Use your commuting time as  your time. Listen to your favourite music or audio book. Maybe by doing so, we’ll inadvertently bring back a little common courtesy to our fellow drivers.

Happy travels!

~Carolyn

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. izinspiredtowrite
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 15:40:38

    I love this! I have noticed that people seem to get personally offended when I slow down to turn as well. Lately I have been enjoying driving so much I realize that I am accidentally going UNDER the speed limit. Oops! Oh well, I am listening to my music, thinking about whatever pops into my head, sometimes taking a new route just to see something new. More people should take the time to enjoy every day activities because guess what? Tomorrow they will be doing it too. And the next day. And the next. Why not learn to enjoy it a bit more?

    -Sara

    Reply

  2. Simply Om
    Aug 25, 2012 @ 10:36:20

    That’s great, Sara! It would be sooo nice to go under the speed limit, but I fear I’d be driven off the road if I did that here!

    I completely agree with you! People always complain that life’s going too fast, yet they don’t realize that it’s in their power to slow it down and actually enjoy it.

    Reply

  3. Stephen Liddell
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 11:41:34

    Lovely post. My journey to work is a 35 mile 50 minute trip through hell on 2 motorways round London and I hate every minute of it.

    Having said that since April I have taken the choice to drive much slower and pretty much just go behind the largest trucks whatever speed they do.

    I save petrol and cash, only lose a few minutes of time and really chill out to the max considering where I am. I enjoy watching all the crazies flying by and getting themselves angry that someone is blocking them in a fast lane so they can only brake the limit by 30mph 🙂

    Me, I look at what trees they are and seek out the more remote parts of my iPod playlists 🙂

    Reply

    • Simply Om
      Aug 31, 2012 @ 21:54:39

      Hi Stephen. I apologize, your post just got approved today, it must have gotten lost in the shuffle. Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your story.

      I can only imagine what that commute must have been like. We’ve all heard about the London traffic! I’m so glad to hear you’ve turned it around for yourself though. It really is so not worth it to drive like a maniac. It probably takes years off our lives when we do! You still arrive at your destination, but in MUCH better spirits, and alive!

      Reply

  4. A French Frye in Paris
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 05:31:53

    So true! The traffic thing is always such a perfect metaphor for life and how we choose to move through it. I even admit that I can be a bit like the crazy in-a-hurry guy (too many years in NY?), but I have respect for people who instead slow down to enjoy the ride, and it’s something I’m working on. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    Reply

  5. Simply Om
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 16:52:20

    Thank you for your comments, French Frye. And I agree, it’s often VERY hard to slow down when you live in a big city. It’s not until you leave the city for a bit that you realize just how fast-paced everyone is. It’s definitely nice to exhale!

    Reply

  6. mlfables
    Aug 31, 2012 @ 10:44:10

    I truly get this post (I cycle everywhere, rather than drive).

    I’ve noticed though, that its not excitement people show when we’re commuting, but rather its anxiety. You can see it in the tension of their voice, or the passive aggression in a confrontation.

    I don’t think big city living is all that great for the soul, even though it is good for the body (big cities mean we can pool our resources efficiently for the benefit of all, but end up living on top of each other as a result).

    Reply

  7. keiththegreen
    Aug 31, 2012 @ 18:05:49

    Driving with acceptance, now there’s a modern lesson in life, many could benefit from.

    Reply

  8. Simply Om
    Aug 31, 2012 @ 21:37:00

    I totally agree, mlfables, it can be very suffocating in a big city. When I leave the city, particularly when I go back “home,” where I grew up, I literally feel a physical sense of relief when I’m a few hours away from the city. It’s like I can finally exhale.

    Thanks for the comment, Keith. Sometimes I feel like getting a megaphone to spread my message while driving. 🙂

    Reply

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