Most people hate themselves.
Do you know how I know this? Because so often I hear people profess, "I hate traffic." If they don't "hate" it, they bemoan how "bad" it is. At the very least, they say, "I was late because of traffic."
The thing is: you are traffic. Everyone is.
Even if you're not on the road, you're probably foot traffic in a line or on a sidewalk. Your mass takes up space that can, at times, delay those around you -- the same way they delay you. When it comes down to it, we're all "in the way" people.
Traffic is not some foreign entity that congeals before you to create inconvenience. Rather, it is a massive congregation of individuals, many of whom have the same purpose -- to get somewhere. At the risk of sounding obvious, if you decided to stay home one day and leave the car in the garage, that would be one less car in the traffic jam. If everyone else made the same decision, there would be no traffic.
Thus, if you hate traffic, you hate what you create. You hate what you are a part of. You hate yourself.
As is often the case in life, there is an exception. However, it's not exactly favorable. If you claim you hate traffic, but are unwilling to extend it to a secret hatred of yourself, it may signify sociopathic egomaniacal tendencies. Rage, anger, or even frustration over an abundance of cars sharing the road with you is one of the ultimate signs of inflated ego. And often that is how people react: those cars are in MY way. They are delaying ME. I don't like it!
Not only does the irrational ego reaction to traffic make you angry and uncomfortable, it makes you drive like an asshole. And despite what you might think, driving like an asshole does not help anyone -- not even yourself. Zigging and zagging through idling vehicles often fails to make you move any faster (in fact, I often pass those ziggers a half mile later, mid-zag), but worse yet, it harms the functionality of the organism that you are a part of. The reason fish can swim so efficiently in schools is because everyone works together as a unit. They don't "step" out of line. Doing so would create chaos. It's the same with birds flying in formation. Creating uncertainty in other drivers urges them to react by applying their brakes. This ends up making traffic worse, of course. And if you happen to get into a fender bender? You just added 20 minutes to everyone's commute -- even your own.
Instead, viewing traffic from a new perspective may be the way to better tolerate our slow moving journeys. As my cousin Brian often states, it's a matter of bandwidth. The road can only hold so much "data" without "overloading." Therefore, consider a more logical approach. Before you think, "How can I help ME?," think "How can I make this entire system function more efficiently?" Sometimes that entails "late merging" rather than cutting people off to get to your favorite lane. At other times, and more often than you would think, it entails LETTING SOMEONE IN. It's comical how often people speed up to fill a gap in traffic that literally saves one second of their time. Allowing someone with a signal into your lane is such a minor inconvenience -- and if everyone did it, the gesture would work in your favor just as often.
What if I'm late? I hear you ask. Listen, I'm the king of being late. I'm late everywhere. Often I don't leave one place until a minute before I need to be at the next because I watch so much Star Trek that I forget transporting doesn't exist. But when I need to be on time, I find a way. If you need to be somewhere early, leave early. If there is nothing you can do to be on time because of traffic, realize that it's likely not the end of the world either way. Even if you lose your job, your girlfriend, or whatever else is at stake, the sun will still set in the evening, rise in the morning, and your happiness will still be attainable. In short, try to embrace the stillness in traffic that we so often allow to escape us.
I used to "hate traffic" before I had this realization; I no longer do. In fact, when I am leaving work around 4:30 pm and heading straight into the belly of the beast, instead of telling people of my dread, I now say something far more accurate:
"I'm off to be traffic."
Because really, in one way or another, traffic is what we all are.
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