Travel | Culture

Gridlock Perspective

If you had any doubt that we’ve mentally come out the other side of the pandemic, drive around a few of the metropolitan areas. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Miami, or any other major city or the connecting smaller cities that they’re connected to. The roadways are all back to gridlock traffic. How some react to that reality is distinctly different. Welcome back–who are we now?

When traffic is moving, some people dial up the crazy. I see more mad dash drivers than ever trying to squeeze into every pocket, using the breakdown lane for passing, multi-tasking with texting… whatever. It can all seem mad, because it is maddening. So how do we counter the madness outside the windshield?

When I get tired of the same old characters around me, I’ll pull into a rest area or take an exit to stop for five minutes, whether I need to or not. It’s like moving out of a neighborhood with too much drama—instant refresh! Get out of the car, walk around a bit, refuel the body and mind. And when you get back on the road, the new “neighborhood” seems interesting enough to carry you through.

I know a lot of people crank up the music on commutes, and sometimes I’ll do that too. But frequently I’ll use the time to reconnect with people using [gasp!] phone calls. Conversations are like time machines, transporting you for miles seemingly in an instant. Likewise, podcast interviews do the same thing for me. The time isn’t wasted, for the mind is moving faster than the car you’re in.

Nobody welcomes traffic, but when we can’t time our trip better we ought to accept it as a part of living in this particular time. A bit of perspective after what we’ve all been through, and a desire to be in a better place despite it all. After all, aren’t we all trying to get somewhere a bit better than where we just were?

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