Friday, 20 April 2012

Road... Repose? Reform?

I have been driving since I was 16 years old.  It was October of 1990 and after about 3 months of lessons I took my test, botched both attempts at parallel parking but squeaked through to get my hands on the Holy Grail - my license to FREEDOM.  In those days that freedom mostly meant picking up groceries for my parents but I could listen to any music I wanted to in the car! And I could sing along! Alone!

But like everything else, the excitement wears off, the "I'll go!" turns into "Do I HAVE to?" and then you find yourself living in the city where buying a car is superfluous to your snobby "I WALK to work" urban hipster lifestyle.

But since we bought a car last month, the thrill is back.  The idea that we can just GO gives me a rush.  We were members of Communauto for many years and often while we were driving back from some mundane trip to Wal-Mart Stéphane would say "let's go to Boston!"  We always laughed (until we actually did drive to Boston but that's another post) because ha ha - we only booked this car until 6.

So.  All this to say that yeah, yeah, the new car is amazing, we are so happy, blah, blah, but also to say that I had a minor revelation.  I GET why people are so crabby while they drive!  From the ridiculous state of the roads (I'm sure London wasn't this torn up after the Blitz), to drivers who forgot what a turn signal is to the IDIOTS WHO ARE TURNING LEFT BUT STAY BEHIND THE LINE WHEN THE LIGHT TURNS GREEN (that's a big one for me). And I am not kidding you, most days the only driving I do is to daycare and back, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  It's a round trip of 5 km.  And even so, I still have time to get irritated.

So I decided to get all pro-active about it (darn you, Oprah!) and I made a pledge.  A pledge to not get mad while driving.  A pledge to wave my hand in thanks when people let me into their lane (however rarely), to always stop at pedestrian crosswalks, to not tailgate, to ignore people who think I'm driving too slowly and most importantly, to not let that anger get the best of me.

Zen, right?  Look at me!  I'm so healthy!  Yeah, NO.  I seriously take a deep breath and clamp my mouth shut at least once every single day.  Not for me, mind you, but for the sake of my two kids.  Honestly, that's the only reason.  Have you ever driven with someone who is angry on the road? Whether it's justified or not?  It's awful.  And I firmly believe that it's a choice we make every time we get behind the wheel.  It's MY CHOICE.

Liliane is already parroting some of the things I say (I heard her tell Elmo this morning that he was to sit still and eat his breakfast, is that clear?) and I really, really don't want to explain the significance of the middle finger to a 4 year old.  Besides, she is already telling me to "GO Maman!" when we're at a red light.  Apple, tree, etc.

Le sigh.

My husband will read this and laugh because while I am attempting to be all-benevolent to my fellow drivers, my fellow parallel-parkers are a different story.  We live on a busy street with only parallel parking. (BOOYAH, ICBC!) Lady Elantra got her first scratch from a woman who didn't have time to let me leave before she squeezed in right behind me. RIGHT BEHIND ME.  I don't know if she gouged me while parking or if I did it while trying to get out of a now impossibly tight space but either way, if you drive a late-model Nissan Sentra, I WILL FOREVER JUDGE YOU.

ANYWAY, all this to say...  I am so impatient in other areas of my life (um, ALL other areas of my life) and it's becoming a full-time job teaching Liliane that she doesn't need to be impatient either (uhhh.... do as I say, not as I do?) so how about focusing on being consistently patient in this one, tiny area of my day-to-day?

It's a start.

Have a great weekend everybody. And drive safely :)

1 comment:

Tina Lavoie said...

I feel ya, Theresa! Drivers around here are crazy. Well, they're crazy everywhere, really.

Your post reminds me of when I was about 12 and my sister about 5 or 6. We were in the car with our mom and mom, a relatively new driver, was upset over someone on the road. At the time we lived near Los Angeles, so you know that even then it was a ridiculous melee of ineptitude and stupidity on wheels. Anyway, i think mom called the other driver a "jerk" and my sister said, "Just call him a bastard like daddy does!"

What's that saying? Little pitchers have big ears...

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