Just like many thousands of frustrated, stressed-out and overwhelmed motorists, I too, get aggravated on my commute to and from work each and every day.
I once calculated that I spend the equivalent of about 8 hours in my car, each and every week, commuting to and from work.
8 hours! That is like an extra day of work.
On average, it takes about 30-40 minutes to get to work in the morning (and that is leaving my house around 7:30) and over an hour to get home – relying on city streets because the highway is a gong-show.
More times than not, I come home in a pissy mood. I absolutely hate not moving when I am in my car. I absolutely hate being stuck behind big honking SUV’s, mini-vans, trucks….anything where there is a wall of metal in front of me prohibiting me from seeing what the delay is. My kids and my wife can tell that I am in a crappy mood because normally I am a happy sort of guy.
There are days when the drive to and fro is relatively stress-free. There are other days where, even if the streets are dry and the sun is shining, a full moon must be out because I encounter people doing really crazy, stupid things – taking risks, not paying attention…its very scary.
Normally, as a way of passing the time while sitting in traffic in the car, I will either listen to talk radio, make calls to friends and loved ones or actually just listen to music.
I have found that in recent months, the combination of extreme traffic congestion, annoying radio talk show hosts and phone-in callers, is a recipe for higher blood pressure than I already have.
So, yesterday, fed up and verging on going to my pissy place…I decided to try an experiment.
I got on the road as I normally do and took my regular route home from work. This time, I turned off my cell phone (actually powered it down) and kept the radio completely off. No music, no talk, no phone calls…no anything.
I cracked open the window for some fresh air and just listened to the sound of my noisy snow tires vibrate as the rubber hit the cement. All I heard was the sound of the engine revving. All I heard was the sound of other cars and the periodic horn honking.
This time, unlike times before, I whispered instead of yelling when someone did something stupid. I have a tendency of yelling and shouting expletives at doofus’.
This time, I heard myself breathe in and out. I even began to talk, only in whispers, to myself about whatever came into my head.
I was completely awake and aware of the surroundings around me and was focused on the present – on driving home.
Vehicular Meditation. No, its not a disease or a condition.
It was amazing. It still took me forever to get home…but I didn’t feel the same way I have felt in days past when I pull up outside my home. My blood was not boiling and my mind felt very clear.
I was even able to remain calm as a garbage collection truck was collecting recycling containers and completely blocking the street. I was stuck waiting for the driver to move past for almost 10 minutes.
Have I stumbled across a new stress-reliever technique? Have I solved the problem of texting and driving? Have I figured out a way to be more present? Not sure…but I cannot wait for my drive home tonight.