Friday, November 8, 2013

Traffic [write-off one]

A couple of weeks ago Scotty Jacobs and I decided to participate in a write-off versus each other.  We were both a little bored with writing and needed a reason to force the creative juices going.  The concepts of write-offs have really taken off lately and they're a lot of fun.  The general rules are to take a general topic (or two binaries) and write on them (in the case of binaries, each writer taking a different one).  The writings are posted and the readers vote on which is best.  This is typically done in the comments section (which can be left anonymous).  If you read them, please vote, and if you feel you have some constructive criticism, that is also warmly welcomed.  Our topic is "traffic".  Without further ado, here they are:


Traffic (option one)

As a non-believer and a lover of knowing I have the potential to control things if I ever felt like taking the initiative to be the 'control freak', there lies one thing we cannot control in our lives which even I am willing to admit:  and that's traffic.  I've been driving for about a decade now, and I have realized the emotional toll that driving inevitably not only takes on the soul, but allows the soul to experience.  They include (but however are not limited to) the following:

the loss and gain of control because you can't control other drivers.  No matter how hard you clench your teeth or grip the steering wheel, other people on the road largely don't give a shit about you.  Sometimes they listen to you when you tell them "Don't you dare!  Don't you dare pull out in front of me," and sometimes they don't listen, which is quickly followed with "HOW FUCKING DARE YOU! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Are you kidding me.  Unbelievable.  Nice one, you fucking idiot.  I hate you."

the universe does pick sides, and today it picked yours because that's the only way to explain how you just hit all of those green lights.  Those 42 seconds you just gained from hitting that green light?  Legit.  They matter.  Why do they matter?  Because everything involving traffic is perfectly intertwined.  One green light means another green light which means a beating another red.

feeling like a badass because you're actually racing everyone else on the road.  Oh, the person in the lane next to you is slowing down for that yellow light?  Well, you're not.  Not today.  You drop that bad boy down a gear and go for it.  Did you just switch lanes without using your turn signal?  Shit yes you did, and no one died.  Is the person behind you yelling at you for it?  Probably.

making you feel smart because what fucking dumbass doesn't use a turn signal when switching lanes? What are we, in driver's training?  Oh, that person in front of you didn't realize their destination was coming up so quickly?  Are they THAT unaware of their surroundings?  They're texting when driving?  Christ, how vapid they must be that they have to send text messages while driving.  Have they no appreciation for actual conversations anymore?  Likely not.  They probably don't even read books or listen to talk radio, and they probably put sugar in their coffee, too.

you actually know all about the person you're staring at because people who take selfies at stoplights are all the same.  They're one level below the people who are texting and driving, because the only thing worse than not being able to control the urge to send relatively pointless messages to one person while driving is to take a picture of themselves and upload it with every hashtag (except for "#selfie", because no one who takes selflies actually wants to admit that they're selflies).  It's cool, though, because 140 characters or less doesn't take much time to type.

you get your humble on because that's what happens when you're stuck at a red light and it's pouring rain and the perfect slow song is playing and the metronomical slap of the windshield wipers slip you into a somewhat catatonic state.  There's nothing like being able to recall the lack of direction your life has lead, where it's going from that point on, why everything from the past has been intricately woven into the very present moment and also why none of it is related at all.

you completely lose your shit because you can do that in what has turned into your private sanction which happens to be, for the most part, glass walls and home to completely visible breakdowns.  That steering wheel is your punching bag because the fucking asshole in front of you almost made you crash or came to a halt when the light had just barely even turned yellow don't you know that yellow means RED IS COMING SOON?! And that steering wheel is your new pillow that you put your head on and sob and even though your windows are down and you're shrieking at the top of your lungs that's just fine because even though you're surrounded by people, those people don't know you.  So fuck those people.

you know that everything is actually quite alright because once you get past the somewhat congested traffic that made you tap your brakes and interrupt the cruise control, you relax and you speed back up to a comfortable 75 (but debatably 74, just to be safe) mph.  That moment when no one is in your way, the sun warms one side of your face, you don't squint because you didn't leave your sunglasses on the kitchen table, and a slow smile creeps at the corner of your lips for no reason and absolutely every reason.

Tears and sore cheeks and strained vocal chords are three of many possible physical side effects of traffic.  Traffic inflicts, heightens and blatantly allows the full range of human emotions to project with quite little protection.  Much of life is felt in traffic, and without even being realized, is left there; and like traffic, it dissipates.

Traffic (option two)

Traffic is like a PMS-ing woman. We can’t stop it from happening and we desperately want to avoid it by any means necessary. Spend too much time dealing with it and our own good moods are in jeopardy. The only remedy for it is patience. Honestly though, who has time for that shit?
We do our best to leave a few minutes early to beat the rush. On the days we actually accomplish this, we calmly reach our destination on time, only to find that we left our wallet at home. Damn it traffic! You did that on purpose! You’re such a selfish bitch. Traffic really is the quicksand of our everyday lives. The more we fight it, the deeper we’re consumed by it.
When genuine road-rage starts to set in, we have completely lost the battle with traffic. See, not every driver on the road feels the same way as us. They stay relaxed behind the wheel and embrace the traffic. These are the real assholes on the road,  not us. They find themselves in the fast lane, going the regular speed limit. “IT IS CALLED THE FAST LANE FOR A REASON PEOPLE! GET YOUR PONTIAC VIBE OVER TO THE RIGHT, WHERE IT BELONGS!” This is the kind of thing that makes us want to follow them to the rest area and let all of the air out of their tires while they take a squeege. The whole time we are freaking out about them being in our way, and they’re oblivious to it.
Imagine if our population was the same, but the motor vehicle was never invented. Come on, really think about it. The roads would be packed with people on horseback. Personally, I would probably ride some sort of bovine creature. Like an ox. Maybe even an upright walking grizzly bear that I could just piggyback from place to place. Regardless, there would be animals’ shit everywhere. People getting bucked and trampled into the shit. It would be awful to bear witness on a daily basis. However, all traffic disputes could be settled with some sort of a medieval joust right in the median. Bam! Done and done. Saddle up and back on the road. Sounds glorious.
Of course, traffic is not only on the streets. There is air traffic, nautical traffic, foot traffic, social media traffic, cell phone traffic, etc. All of them frustrating in their own unique way. We have to remind ourselves to accept this fact, take a chill pill and enjoy the ride like those other assholes out there. That’s all life really is anyway, a ride. It’s up to us to make the most out of it. This is with one exception though; Pontiac Vibe drivers will forever be on our shit-list. Do us a solid, stick to the right lane or else the Vibe despising grizzly bear is getting a tune-up. Buckle-up, check your blind spots and we'll see y'all at rush hour!


Check out Scotty's blog RIGHT HERE. And the podcast that he helps create RIGHT HERE.