Every year around the same time, which is the week before the Thanksgiving holiday, driving in everyday traffic becomes its own inner circle of Hell. Yes, the hustle and bustle of making groceries, purchasing gifts for family members and the like can be an all out Hellish experience. Those of us who are brave enough, (or literally had no other choice but to wait until last-minute, because of work or other unforeseen circumstances) or are just completely insane, cope with making the tempestuous trek to any place of business during holiday rush hour. Let us begin by discussing what actually happens before you even get into a vehicle to get on the highway to retail Hell….Plan ahead. If you are a smart shopper you go out with a contingency plan in case things get out of hand (but that is for another time). So, if you have children and need to shop (bless your heart, soul, and more than likely tired ass feet from chasing them around) getting them into the vehicle is probably its own level of Hell. Just do whatever it is you normally do.
If you need a break or mental prep, the Starbucks line is just around the block. Make a stop, it could save your life and give you that extra boost needed for maximum traffic coping techniques. Pick up a little holiday cheer so you don’t road rage out on everyone right off the bat. If you are lucky enough to have anti-anxiety medication, take the damn things. We all wish we were that lucky. Plus, you are doing everyone else a favor. Take them and have a pleasant drive.
Now….let’s discuss the traffic. There will always be some asshole that will be inconsiderate and not let you over into THE lane that you absolutely need to be in. Don’t worry. If you slow down and hold up traffic in your lane, someone is bound to be a good Samaritan, and let you in. If this is not the case feel free to hurl insults at the asshole who wouldn’t let you over in the first place. Also, there are some people who think that speeding up and almost ramming into the rear end of your car is going to get them somewhere faster. Pump the brakes just enough to let them know that this is simply unacceptable behavior. Is this helpful? No, not really, but it sure as Hell will help you get those bumper to bumper frustrations out.
If someone is nice enough to let you over in a lane, wave and thank them. A simple nod or wave shows that you are not a complete douche-canoe, and that you have some sort of civilized manners in this never-ending circle of Hell traffic….A polite face with over dramatic nodding or gratitude for lane switching is a must. You don’t wanna look like an ungrateful bastard, do you? I didn’t think so. Just say thanks when the lady with the moo-moo lets you over.
(Inhale deep breath) This brings me to music and relaxation. If you cannot handle the ridiculous amount of Christmas carols on the radio station, make a CD, mixed tape, or use your auxiliary cord to plug-in music from your phone to your vehicle. When you arrive at whatever hellhole destination of your choosing, there will be holiday tunes a plenty. Trust me on that. Whatever you enjoy listening to, do it. If it helps you focus, relax, or just in general, makes the drive more bearable, crank that little ole thing up honey and sing along!
Singing gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!
Let’s get back to the horrifying issues with the holiday drivers you will be dealing with. There is a reason why they say stay off of your phone while driving. Not only is it dangerous, but it holds up the flow of traffic. This is simply unacceptable. Texting while driving? Get outta here! You could cause an accident. If it is not an emergency, stay off the phone folks. Wait until you reach your parking destination, then have a look when the car is parked. A phone call from your roommate, significant other, or child reminding you to pick up booty ribbon (toilet paper) is not worth getting a traffic ticket or having an accident.
When courteous driving fails, and politeness is no longer an option, (because you have been in bumper to bumper traffic, with some jerk off trying to speed up to keep you from switching lanes, because you got in the fast lane to pass him) just go back to your basic instincts. Throw a few birds, or mouth a four-letter word or two. If needed lay on that horn honey! Help yourself weave in and out of that hellacious tapestry of clogged up service roads, and highways. Just be safe and remember, it’s not the end of the world… Or traffic for that matter. As long as you arrive home safely, securely, and without causing an accident, that’s what matters.
Remember, don’t drink and drive. Save that for after your outings during this holiday season. If someone asks you about how the traffic was, just pour yourself a glass of wine and walk away. You don’t need to relive that horrific experience by sharing. Let them find out for themselves. Stay safe, and happy holidays!