Combating road rage

Published 8:46 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

I commute to work. My drive from Norfolk to Suffolk is about 48 minutes long according to MapQuest. But in the unmitigating scorch of the summer sun, the commute certainly feels a whole lot longer.

And as I drive along and the traffic slows to a stop, those drivers otherwise uninterested in their commute seem to spring to instant anger when the bottleneck begins. The anger of which I speak is, of course, road rage. I see drivers become violently animated in their vehicles, obviously cursing to the heavens the unfortunate accident ahead, the inconvenient road work, or if there is simply nothing else to blame, the driver in front of them.

Because clearly, it is that driver ahead of them whose sole mission in life is to keep them from getting to their destination.

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But, my poor, poor, road ragers, I think I’ve come up with some solutions to help subdue that rage and help you actually enjoy your summer commutes, instead of getting arrested for accosting a fellow commuter.

As I am a man who enjoys the simple pleasures of life, I try to focus on the little things that happen from time to time when I’m stuck in traffic to get me through the ordeal. I go to my happy places, if you will.

For instance, don’t you get happier than you ought to when you order a 10-piece McNugget and they accidently put 11 or 12 in the box. I love that. I think of that joy when I’m stuck in traffic.

What about when you make the world’s most perfect meatloaf or roast, and you know that that delicious beast in waiting for you in your fridge? Having something to look forward to when I get home makes the wait worth it for me.

Something else I think about is the last good nap I had. I think of that Sunday afternoon when there was a documentary on television about an obesity clinic and it was just interesting enough to be relaxing. The temperature in the room was just right, with a slight cool breeze flowing, and I slowly drifted away for a couple hours. That’s the kind of thing worth remembering when you feel stressed.

For those who aren’t the visualizing-type, my advice is to buy a Nintendo DS. If you’re into improving your hand-eye coordination in your 30s and relieving stress in traffic, I highly recommend having some sort of handheld gaming device in the passenger seat.

After a certain of point of being a handheld gamer like myself, you actually start looking forward to traffic jams; you just got more time to work on your Ghostbusters adventure.

I’m just saying take it easy out there, my fellow commuters. Go to your happy places. Trust me it’s better to get home late than not at all. Calm down. If not for yourself, do it for the delicious meatloaf waiting for you in the fridge.