Saturday, October 22, 2011

Road Rage

"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead" (unknown)



Just like morning, I want to embrace you. I want to breath deeply. I want to instantly see the big picture. I want to slow my heart rate, ease the coursing of my blood, and muffle the urges that haunt me to act—every. single. moment. of. the. day.

Despite wanting to embrace you though, you seem inconsistent with any part of how I live my life; you just don't seem to suit my personality--so I think it's time for us to talk. After all, I take on more tasks than I should, and I go about them at approximately three-thousand miles per hour. I feel validated when I check items off of my to-do list. I hate procrastination and I rarely sit still. Watching television is torture—unless I'm sorting through mail or planning out what I will do once the show ends.

Because I don't embody you, I shuffle my feet. I often trip when I hit uneven cement, because I don't take the time to raise at the knee and progress through the walking motion properly. I actually engaged in a who-can-pee-faster competition with a group of people at a New York City hotspot, and it wasn't even close. I smoked the entire competition; they squirted Purell on my palms afterwards because they didn't think it was possible for me to have washed my hands.

I watch patient people with envy, and that's not only because they seem to trip far less than me, or because they run into fewer walls. I envy them because I love to observe. I love to absorb. I love to live free of the nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach that always seems to harass me, telling me to hurry up.

As much as I envy the slow movers though, I must admit they bring out the feisty side of me. I am overly eager when they struggle to spit out words. I grow annoyed when they don’t figure out what they want to order while they’re standing in line. And my blood pressure soars when I miss a stoplight, waiting for them to crawl through crosswalks. When the speed limit is twenty-five miles per hour, I want them to drive no slower than thirty. If they are casually pedaling a bike at a far lower rate of speed than the cars on the road beside them, I want them to hug the curb and let me pass.

I also want to stop feeling this way. It’s absurd. Very few things are important enough to warrant my behavior. Very few things require immediacy. Very few things are the end of the world. Ironically, I once told a student who was struggling with a college decision that I thought she should "take a deep breath." Then I went on--very matter-of-factly--to explain that "at the end of the day, it isn’t the end of the world.” If she didn't like her first year of college, she could always transfer some where else. I made it as easy as that.

Oh how I wish I could take my own advice. Oh how I wish I could laugh at myself for getting antsy. Oh how I wish I could simplify my life enough to stop stressing about being late, or finishing my work quickly.

I may never master the virtue of being patient, but I know I need to work on slowing down. My hybrid might help out the environment, but my high-octane commute is taking years off my life. So I’m going to try to breathe a little deeper. I’m going to think happy thoughts as I drive. And I’m going to find some way to emulate the bikers—and actually enjoy the ride.

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