I rarely touch my phone when I drive, so I didn't consult Google Maps before heading home when I picked up my daughter from cross-country practice. As soon as I turned onto the on-ramp, whammo, big traffic backup. Quite unusual for a Thursday rush hour in Bellingham, Washington. What normally takes 15 minutes took us 45 minutes to get home. Here's the problem. As three lanes of traffic were inching along the interstate, some drivers chose to drive on the shoulder, passing cars waiting in line in efforts to get ahead of the waiting masses. This created an awkward zipper effect with four lanes of cars now having to merge together into two. My typical reflexive response is to either verbally shout "Idiot!" or some other epithets, but I didn't this time. Not because my daughter was in the car with me. I kept quiet and tried having an internal discussion with myself:
> "Crap. Bunch of drivers are being sneaky and not waiting in line like the rest of us. I hate that."
> "Yeah, they must be stressed out by not getting home at their usual time."
> "I want to be home, too. I don't like waiting in traffic. I should have checked Google Maps and taken the side streets home."
> "Oh look, it's a sunny evening, let's roll the windows down and enjoy some cool breeze while we're slowly progressing home."
> "Funny thing. I bet those cheater drivers are getting yelled at by other cars as they pass. Oh look, some cars are blocking their path on the shoulder. Looks like Carmageddon tonight."
> "Let's alternate picking songs with Apple Music on our iPhones while we're waiting in traffic."
> "Mount Baker sure looks nice in the distance."
As stressful times invade our day, and as we experience others doing some sneaky activities, may we have an internal conversation where we avoid the mental anchors and dwell on the good things rarely noticed around us.