Impatience and driving

I am currently in possession of a car. It belongs to my sister. She bought a newer one but wanted to keep this one to give to her son when he gets his license (he is 22 so he’s a little overdue on that!). Until then I’m using it and helping her deal with a limited parking situation. It has worked out for me as it’s winter, really cold right now and my teaching gig requires me to get to meetings in the hinterlands of Henrietta, a ninety minute public transportation challenge. So I’m doing a little more driving then usual. I’m not sure why this is but people are a lot more pleasant when they’re walking. In fact I think that driving instills a pervasive layer of impatience that creates a lot of stress. This, in turn, spills into a lot of places. And when I drive I get it too. Why won’t this light change? Why is this guy driving so slow? This traffic is driving me crazy (driving me crazy- interesting phrase). People honk, make faces, get mad. And it makes absolutely no difference in how fast they get somewhere, none whatsoever.

When I walk or ride the bus I know how long it is going to take to get somewhere. I can even use Google Maps to get directions. When I select the bus icon it calculates the time, including walking, cost and how that compares to driving. Driving is always faster and almost always more expensive (it is only figuring gas prices, not the real cost of driving). When I’m on the bus I don’t worry about traffic, lights, other drivers. I just read, look out the window or watch my fellow humans in all their glory or lack thereof. If I am getting impatient while waiting for a bus or to get somewhere, I just do a little breathing practice and the impatience fades. This doesn’t seem to work when driving, either that or I need more practice!

The fact is that, given the time and the means, I’d rather walk or take public transport. I feel a lot more connected with life on the surface. Cars are insulators, they insulate us from all kinds of experience and they insulate us from other people. You sit in your pod and are surrounded by yourself and your thoughts. I think this creates an environment driven by the ego and its need for constant attention. In other words, impatience.

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