Last night’s commute was an interesting test of my intent to continue and grow as a human being, and learn better skills for experiencing and expressing anger without doing harm, or degrading the quality of life or emotional experience of other beings. Yep. I think it can be done. I see other people doing it. So. Doable. 🙂 I figure my detestable commute is worthy territory for practice, too, because… people piss me off pretty reliably when all I want to do is drive home without bullshit. LOL

As I pulled out of the parking lot at the office, I reminded myself that the goal was to get home safely, skillfully, following traffic rules, remaining within the speed limit, and to do so without “being provoked” by the behavior of other drivers, who are definitely having their own experience. So far so good. Intentions set.

All was well a good portion of the drive, in spite of people just… yeah. Omg. Human beings are not at all at their best on their evening commute, driving in traffic at the end of the day. Everyone seems to be 100% entirely out for themselves without any regard whatsoever for the other human beings literally surrounding them. I pulled up to a stoplight along the way. I stopped. Cars behind me stopped. The empty lane the right, in this instance, in clearly marked in several locations (signage, on the pavement, a reminder literally hanging from the light pole, too) that this is “right turn only” and “traffic in right lane must turn right”. It’s a complicated intersection, but this point is made very clear. The large pick up who pulled up next to me and inched forward a bit at a time was in my periphery, but on my mind; this is a favorite spot for douchebags to attempt to get around waiting traffic for which they, themselves, are too good to endure along with the rest of us. Fuckheads. Yeah, this is a thing that pisses me off enormously. The light turned green, and I purposely, with intent, skill, and my full conscious attention, quickly accelerated to the speed limit and pulled ahead of the truck and through the intersection. Yep. He (I could see him) immediately pulled in behind me, cutting off the less aware/attentive/committed driver behind me. I drove on.

I let it go and drove on. He was still mad, and tail-gating me in his unnecessarily huge truck. Eventually, there was some distance between us, and a couple cars turned into that space. Then end of it, I figured. Nope. I stopped at a light with a left turn only signal – two lanes, the one on the right continuing, the one on the left turning left. Oh, you know where this goes, right? If you were reading along thinking “well, you’re just guessing that he was trying to get around the traffic, maybe he just didn’t see the right turn only, then saw it, and hurriedly pulled into the correct lane? That could happen… so human.” Sure, sure, only… there’s this; with no one in that left turn lane at the time I was waiting for that red light so I could continue? Yep. Who comes hauling ass up that left hand only turn lane? The big pick up. Same truck. He pulled past that line of cars, and even I caught myself thinking “well, finally, he’s turning…”. Nope. He not only didn’t turn, it wasn’t ever his intention to turn. As soon as the left turn light went green he pulled through the intersection around all the stopped traffic – it was only the left turn light that was green, and he took advantage of it. I was, admittedly, immediately enraged. Nothing much I could do about it, and I choked on my anger, struggling to both feel my feelings, and also to behave in the way I most want to do. It was fucking hard. I wanted to scream at him, and I wanted to do him real harm. For an instant, I was viscerally aware why I choose not to own a firearm.

I’m still angry about that guy’s shitty behavior, thinking about it this morning. For me, this is the sort of thing that is representative of the downhill slide of our national culture and society, generally. Entitled inconsiderate douche-baggery. Fuck that guy. Don’t be that guy.

Some distance down the road later, insisting with myself that I breathe deeply, calm myself, and stay focused on skillful safe driving, being attentive, and making “the game of life” about something other than winning at the expense of others, I’d calmed myself and moved on from all that. It was hard. Worthwhile, though, in the sense that I arrived home feeling comfortable in my own skin, not especially stressed out, and actually having already forgotten most of the stress of the commute within minutes of stopping the car. That feels pretty good. I’ll give it another go again today.

Today is a good day to begin again.