Driving, for some people, is a way to get from point A to point B. No attention is given to the surroundings, the dogs on the sidewalk or the wild-flowers growing by the curb. Thinking about it, it’s probably safer, as people’s eyes should be on the road and not the side of it. As the typical cliché goes, “stop and smell the roses.” In this case, taking it literally wouldn’t be a good idea, unless you’re driving down Lombard Street in San Francisco. But the point behind the cliché still applies. I find that driving is a way for me to think about, and enjoy, my surroundings without distractions. We’re all driving down the same road, but in our own little metal bubble. That could, honestly, go up in flames any minute. Cars are scary. As per usual, I digress. I have compiled a few of my thoughts while driving this week that have made me smile.
On my way home from school, I drive past a couple elementary schools, and therefore, a couple crossing guards. This past week the lady was directing traffic in the intersection in front of the school, and she started almost-dancing. It only lasted a second, but it was there. It was probably a response to a car that had driven past that was blasting music, and I started thinking about how many different songs traffic-directors probably hear everyday. They only hear each song for maybe 5 seconds, but that’s enough to get a song stuck in one’s head. My train of thoughts quickly fell off the rails into a rabbit hole, and I started thinking about how interesting being a crossing guard would be. There are loads of elementary school kids that a crossing guard gets to talk to during the wait for the light to change, and while crossing the street. Similar to the music, the conversation is short lived, but it’s enough to get to hear some quality stories.
Being a dog in a car seems like such a liberating experience. Sure, people can stick their heads out of car windows too, but they don’t get the “AWW that person is so cute!!’ it’s more of “Umm what is that person doing.” Ugh, social standards. I just appreciate the people that bring their dogs in the car, and I pretend they’re doing it to show off their prized pet. The dog’s probably pretty proud of himself too. Like “look what I can do, you silly human, if you did this people would judge you.” Sidenote: my family once dog-sat a golden retriever and he loved car rides, and would stick his head out the window and leave a trail of slobber like there was no tomorrow. The entire side of the car was stained with slobber marks for a week.
I want to register my car in a different state and get that state’s license plate just to drive it around in the state I live in… and to be different. My new favorite past-time is punching the people in the car with me when there’s a different license plate nearby. When I say people, I mean Trevor or my brother, because no one else will play with me. But I want to be driving the car that people go “woah! that person’s from *insert state here*” Or i could just move across the country and bring my car. That’d work too. But anyways it’s always fun seeing the different license plates and wondering why they’re visiting. Are they staying with family? Just on vacation? Each license plate has a story, and I think that’s pretty cool.
Something I tried recently was just driving in silence. I turned off the radio and just sat with my thoughts. It almost acted as a semi-therapy session. Usually I just blast upbeat music to fix my mood, but this time I attempted the opposite. It was eye-opening. The fifteen minute car ride allowed me to address some thoughts about current events at school that have had a negative impact on my life, after I attended a school district board meeting, and it was a good idea. I could reflect on the meeting without the interruption of other people’s opinions, especially after hearing them expressed for two hours straight. I highly recommend it.
When I am not wallowing in my thoughts, I discovered this podcast called Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People. My friends in my journalism class were talking about it, and so I looked it up. The last time I listened to a podcast was in eighth grade, and I was excited to find something new. And it paid off. I turn on this podcast whenever I’m in the car now, because my music was getting to be kind of repetitive. It’s hosted by Chris Getherd, a comedian, and the premise is that people call in to talk about anything, but they’re completely anonymous. The phone call can only be an hour long, so they have an hour to just chat with Chris, and it’s pretty rad. The topic that they start with when they call him usually diverts into a completely different topic. This is almost completely credited to Chris, who somehow knows the right questions to ask to delve into this anonymous person’s life. Without knowing their identity, he gets to know who the person is and their struggles, and tries to help them. It’s a super deep premise, but the podcast itself is pretty lighthearted. It’s great alternative to sitting in silence, and I highly recommend this as well.
I apologize for the length, but these have been accumulated over a week. Also! I forgot to add, but the sunrise on my way to school is pretty impressive and it’s a fantastic way to start the day. But anyways, I find that looking for small delights while in traffic helps me forgive those idiot drivers that decide that they’re going to just do their own thing and not pay any attention to those around them, and not get so frustrated.
I’m not usually adamant about you guys taking something from my posts, but I truly hope that this one inspires you to take a minute while driving and just breathe. Times are stressful right now, and we don’t need anymore added stress. I know that preventing stress isn’t really possible, but lessening the frustration in driving has helped me put things in perspective. The world is having a hard time right now, and though driving in silence seems like a small thing, or listening to a lighthearted podcast maybe won’t dramatically alter your life, but it definitely helped me this past week. If the silence or podcast trick don’t work, maybe try sticking your head out the car window and slobbering down the side of the car. Preferably when someone else is driving.