I’m Driving in My Car

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Dear Dharma,

I consider myself to be a fairly levelheaded person. I don’t get into heated fights with other people and I generally mediate between people who have conflict in their lives. However, I find that when I am behind the wheel of my car, phrases spew out of my mouth that I would be embarrassed to say in front of my mother! It can be the simplest of driving infractions and something nasty will automatically shoot out of my mouth that sometimes even shocks me.

Is this my way of relieving tension and stress from my day? Am I alone in this affliction or do others find themselves in this position too?

Road Rage in Vancouver

Dear Rage in Vancouver,

The Vancouver part kind of says it all, doesn’t it?  Rated for having the worst traffic in all of Canada and 5th overall in the worldin the world!  That’s crazy.

The more people on the road, the more crowding. The more crowding, combined with the million other stressors in our lives, the more aggression.  For sure you aren’t the only one facing this every day, so take solace in the fact that you aren’t alone in this affliction.

If your day is stressful and you are the mediator for others on a regular basis, you’re constantly trying to keep your cool, so it makes sense that something’s going to give at some point, non?  You’ve found your safe spot where you can vent and rage with seemingly no consequence – except that it obviously bothers you that you behave this way and are capable of such obscenities.

Being in a car allows you not to see the offender as a person. Think about it – you wouldn’t start screaming at the lady with the baby in her cart that cut you off in the grocery store, or spit curses at the elderly gentleman who takes forever at the gas station.  When you freak out on a vehicle, you have the luxury of not connecting with the driver as an actual person.

So maybe start trying to connect to that thought, that there’s an actual human being in there, with a family and friends and a cat, maybe.  Also, try to give the benefit of the doubt – you don’t know they didn’t just get a call with some terrible news, and they are trying to get somewhere as quickly as possible.  Of course they probably didn’t, they’re probably just douches, but it helps keep it in perspective and can help with being tolerant.

Lastly, music can help set the tone – if you are rocking out to Welcome to the Jungle while cruising around, consider changing that to something that may leave you feeling less like punching someone’s lights out and more like giving them a free pass to be stupid today.

Dharma

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2 Comments

  • colin says:

    haha this could totally be me too! Vancouver traffic is the worst! And don’t get me started on the pedestrians!

  • Emanon says:

    I think that it’s better to spew out the nasty phrases than to get out of the car and beat someone. (I know, It’s temping, but trust me no one looks good in prison orange!) The fact is, there are some pretty terrible drivers out there. My daily commute often feels like a game of Russian roulette of whether or not I can make it home without getting nailed by someone on the highway!

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