The Traffic Shuffle

I’m not a traffic person. I grew up in beautiful, calm, sunny California. We don’t do traffic out there. I lived in New York. Yes, there is traffic in the Big Apple, but at least it moves. You’re never really stuck for too long. However, Dallas traffic is an entirely different playing field.

I had an 8 o’clock meeting the other morning across town and ended up sitting in traffic for about an hour before being able to get OFF the road. Once I found an alternate route it still took quite a bit of time. In fact, it took me three hours to get from my house to the venue.

It was only supposed to take an hour.

During the time I sat, I discovered that there is a definite thought process we all go through when faced with traffic. It goes a little something like this…

Denial :

We’re not really slowing down, are we? There’s no way. Wait, if I just don’t pay attention to it, then maybe it’s not really happening. We can’t be slowing down. This is a highway. People have places to go and people to see. If traffic was slowing, then all of these people would be late to their appointments and… and that just can’t happen.

Doubt :

It’s probably something simple. Maybe there is a cow doing hand stands in the pasture up there and everyone is just slowing to look at him. Of course, people could also just be braking because there is an accident. Or maybe construction that will clear up in a few minutes once people get the hang of which lanes to use. Nah, it’s definitely a cow. Yeah, a cow doing hand stands.

Stress :

Ok, this mess needs to get moving. It’s gonna take me 30 minutes to get to my destination, but I have to be there in 25. I mean, there’s just no way that I can be there. But I have to be there. I can’t not be there! MOVE!!

Questioning :

Will this line ever move? What’s going on up there? Is there an accident? Why aren’t we moving? Is there construction? How do they expect all these cars to get down to one lane? Are people just browsing? Why haven’t we moved in the last five minutes? Shouldn’t we be moving by now?

Anger :

I can’t believe this! This always happens to me! I don’t understand why they make these lanes so narrow. And they always do construction at the wrong time of the day. They should do this in the middle of the night. If it’s an accident, then it needs to be cleaned up. I mean, honestly, why are people so selfish? They get into accidents and we’re supposed to express this innate concern but all it does is screw up everyone else’s life? It’s stupid to be careless and drive like an idiot! No sympathy for your mistake.

Panic :

What if I never get out of this? What if the accident is so bad that they can’t clean it up? I could be stuck here forever. Then what? Oh my gosh, what if my car breaks down? Then I would be the cause of a hold up! Or the semi behind me could forget to stop and I would be sandwiched here. What’s to stop the person in front of me from getting out of their car and murdering me? There’s nothing anyone would do to stop it.

Disgust :

It’s so ridiculous that people can’t drive. This guy next to me keeps giving me the eye. I should flip him the bird. Wait, he’s probably got a knife.

Acceptance :

I’ll just plug my iPod in.

Relief :

Oh good, we’re moving. We’re moooovinggggg! Oh thank you, Lord!

And then you realize you’ve been stopped for all of 3 minutes.

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