The Travails of Travel

worst-traffic-dc-2_650x366-1So we’re off for a relaxing weekend jaunt to the Nation’s capital and it seems that everyone else in the Western Hemisphere has had the same idea. I’ve noticed that no matter how original I might think I’m being, it invariably turns out that I haven’t had an original idea in fifty years which may be why we always end up sitting in traffic. Washington, DC for the 4th of July–who would’ve thunk other people had the same idea?

I don’t like traffic and I don’t know anybody who does but it’s a fact of life and once you’re sitting in the middle of a jam, the way I see it you have two options. You can “go crazy” which is the option that some in my family, who shall remain nameless to protect their insanity, choose. Or you can just go with the flow. Look, I know it’s hard to be jovial under these circumstances but is it fair to cast a pall of misery over everyone around you?

Going crazy includes looking up alternate routes on every type of global positioning device available to you, rapping on the wheel, cursing, tapping your feet loudly, breathing in and out heavily and generally acting like nothing this terrible has ever happened to anyone and you’re really too good a person for this to be happening to you. The problem is that none of the aforementioned behaviors actually hasten your arrival at your destination.  They do, however, make the other people in the car want to get out of the car and hitch a ride with someone else, anyone else including the guy driving next to you who looks like he might be a serial killer but a happy, relaxed serial killer who doesn’t appear to be looking up alternate routes.

Luckily, there is a rest stop in sight. We stop. The line at Starbucks stretches as far as the eye can see. The guy behind me grouses and gnashes his teeth for the entire twenty-minute wait. He complains about the people working behind the counter.  That one should be “pulling drinks” he says.  “This would never fly in New York City,” he grumbles.  And, then when we get up to the register I hand the cashier my iPhone with its nifty app that allows me to pay right from the iPhone. Instead of scanning, apparently not having that capability, the harried and overwhelmed cashier types in the numbers. Mr. Stressball behind me exhales loudly and mutters, “So close. I could almost taste my coffee.”  The cashier is sweating. What, I ask, has Mr. Stressball accomplished?

We’re back home now and the weekend was great.  Fireworks in DC were over the top awesome. There were crowds but they were well behaved and orderly.  I think about our weekend and this is what I come up with:

  •  This is one hell of a country and I am grateful every day that I had the good fortune to be born here.
  •  We all have “stuff” but my “stuff” is no more important than yours so during this season of travel, park your stress at home and when you hit the road remember don’t be mean, don’t be impatient, relinquish any illusion of control and enjoy the journey.

One thought on “The Travails of Travel

  1. Yup, sometimes it’s easier to stay home…but not nearly as much fun. This is truly a great country, but there are also a lot of jerks living here. Such is life. Glad you had a good time.

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