My mind has still not completely let go of slow drivers.
Or the frustration and anger that I was feeling.
I haven’t fully accepted not letting other’s actions change my view of the situation. I really meant that as I was writing it yesterday. I realized that these feelings and frustrations did not have to be mine, I did not have to accept the anger and the frustration. I could choose to not let it bother me.
And I had every intention of following through today.
I was patting myself on the back as I got behind a fully loaded tandem dump truck. As I rounded the corner on one of the first winding roads I take to work, there was the dump truck. Now in all fairness to the driver, the truck was full to capacity with tree limbs and stumps. I’m sure it was heavy, impacted the driver’s ability to go fast.
As soon as I saw the dump truck, I said “it’s ok. I’ve got plenty of time to get to work.”
And I felt confident that everything would be ok. I followed behind for just a mile or two and then miraculously, the truck driver made a right turn onto another road, leaving me free to travel at the speed I am used to.
This lasted until I rounded the next curve.
In front of me was a small, unassuming sedan, driven by a small unassuming person. Nowhere in particular to go, just out and about for the afternoon. The driver may have been contemplating the views of the mountains, or the meaning of life. Whatever they were thinking about, it was not how to make their car travel at the posted speed limit.
And I let this person turn my success into frustration.
It wasn’t their fault that they are driving slowly. And I cannot control their speed. I cannot control whether they stay in front of me for the duration of my travels. I cannot control where or when there will be a safe place to pass this person.
So why in the hell am I so angry?
I have already made up my mind to control the one thing I can, and that is my attitude towards the situation. And my plan, up until that moment, was to relax, know I am allowing enough time to make it to work, and just let people drive at their own chosen speed. My attitude needs to be that these are back roads and this type of situation is normal for small, narrow, backcountry roads.
It is inevitable that I am going to get stuck behind a tractor towing a huge trailer of hay bales.
Or I am going to end up behind a dump truck, the driver on the clock, just trying to make a living. And I am going to from time to time get behind someone who is less comfortable driving these twisty, turny, backroads in a pell-mell fashion.
I am not an unsafe driver.
But when I am going anywhere, it is usually for a reason. Attached to that reason is a deadline, an appointed meeting time, a scheduled time to arrive. I focus on this and monitor my progress towards arriving when I say I will. And for me, being on time feels like I am late. I still live my life on “Lombardi time.” If you are on time, you are late.
There must be some underlying issue that is causing this frustration. Something is keeping me from letting go, as I did with the drivers in New Jersey. Something is keeping me from saying, “this is normal. There will be others using the back roads that will not be able to traverse them as quickly as you can.”
And that is expected and allowed for in my “get to work on time plan.”
After what seemed like seven or eight dog years of waiting, the person made a left turn onto another country road and I was able to once again rocket down the highway. I did better on the rest of yesterdays commute. Perhaps it was because everyone else I encountered was aware of the speed limits and maintaining a healthy speed.
Traveling home around 11:30 PM, the road was empty except for the two of us.
It was just me and a setting moon. Part of the road I travel to and from work is lined up east, west. Last night, the sliver of moon was setting just beyond the road I was on. As it got closer and closer to the horizon, the moon grew bigger and bigger. It would have made a great photo op.
Back to my road rage, I get to try again tomorrow to remember what I can and cannot control.
I am optimistic that I will remember that I have plenty of time, that slow drivers on back roads are a part of traveling them, and that I have confidence in arriving to work on time (which is a few minutes early).
I will even think about anticipating and embracing those slow drivers as one of the rewards I get for living in the country, living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park.
I’ll see you on the road!
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated as I continue my journey