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LA Traffic

If you want to see the absolute worst in yourself and other people, go for a drive in LA.

It's been a long (loooong) time since I took driver's ed (#old), but there definitely was no unit on how to deal with your own and others' aggression on the road. I believe that (here we go with the pageant answers again) all drivers education courses should include lessons on incorporating simple mindfulness practices while driving. It's only the responsible thing to do. Think of how many fewer people would be shot or incur long-term health effects of traffic-related stress, the statistics of which I am just lazy enough to not research and include here.

My mastery on driving can be summed up in my probably-correct assumption that I've driven over 10,000 hours. I'm not going to do actual math here, but I've only been driving in Los Angeles since I was 16, which is sort of almost 20 years, which is insane because I look like I'm 16, just kidding I look like a solid 26, actually one time this woman said I looked my actual age and I think she was trying to be a bitch, so it worked and it really hurt me (lol), and the alcohol didn't help my feelings. Anyway... back then, we didn't need it so much, as traffic was easy-peasy af, but this day and age of technological advancement has helped me not only survive, but THRIVE baby! (And avoid murder, though I will plead the fifth on how close it's come to that.) Here's what's helped me stay alive and out of prison (so far):

1) Dance party! I wonder how many people have gotten into accidents while driving and dancing. I swear if a law gets implemented that is all, "No driving and dancing," I'll feel like I'm back in private school where we weren't allowed to do anything fun except for judge other people and damn them to hell. But I truly do love seeing others dance while they're driving - it brings me such joy! - and I hope that others feel the same about me, but they might not. Which is fine! Because when you're busy dancing first and driving second, there isn't much energy left to heed the haters.

2) Meditate. I don't mean in the sense of sitting in lotus position with your drishti popping, obviously, although traffic can be slow enough to allow for such a practice. I remember one time I took another route home than my usual (adding uncertified psychic to my resume), and ended up avoiding an HOURS-LONG STANDSTILL on the 101-405 interchange due to a crane falling and blocking all seven hundred lanes of the freeway. I don't even want to think about what I would have done. Worst-case scenario, what if I had to poo? The horror. Best-case scenario? Pop the top and tan, I guess.

Anyway, sometimes when I catch myself getting caught up in anything other than the now, such as, for example, getting into those imaginary rapid-fire conversations where I'm both protagonist and adversary and can somehow end up crying (hahahha), I focus on my breath. If I want to get even more meditative, I start noticing everything that's in my line of vision - the trees, the clouds, the sensation of wind through my hair, the feel of the bumps on the road, the way my hands are gripping the steering wheel, and on and on and on forever! It's the vehicular version of Thich Nhat Hahn's "Wash the dishes to wash the dishes" credo, in which he gently suggests one simply pay attention to all facets of what one is doing - nothing more, nothing less.

3) Music. Not sure why this is third on the list, because this one has been for the ages, for ages. I wish I could link you to a super dope Spotify playlist that's the perfect mix for driving, but we're all different, plus my taste in music changes faster than my moods, which change faster than money between drug-dealin' hands. (Not actually sure if that makes sense.) The point is, listening to and singing along to the right kind of music will make time fly like an eagle (Seal. See?). Also, listening to mantras, while proven to be aggravating to others, gives me a new lease on positivity and life.

4) Good ol' conversation. Bluetooth has changed the mother fucking GAME when it comes to chatting on the phone. So many options! Regular, FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, speech-to-text for chrissakes! The only downside - better make sure your data plan is heavy, because FT will eat. it. up. It's obvious that talking on the phone while driving isn't the safest thing, even if it is hands-free, but the way I justify it is that if you were with me in the car, we'd be talking anyway. It can also be a time management thing, getting calls out of the way that you'd not want cutting in to the funner parts of your day, like sleeping or eating.

5) Perspective. Three words: "I get to."

As in, "I get to be in traffic!" As opposed to, "I have to be in traffic..." which is all loose translation for "Bitch, be grateful you have a car and the ability to drive to whatever job you're lucky to have, because others are struggling with actual issues of life/death/employment/ailments/etc, so don't contribute more negative complaining energy to the existing collective negative complaining energy of this planet." It's all about checking yourself!


You may have noticed I left out listening to podcasts and audio books. This is because I'm not interested in hearing other people talk. Lol, JK. It's because I'm not interested in podcasts and audio books. Simple, really. I prefer watching shows and reading books, but not while driving! I draw the line somewhere, after all. Just kidding, the only lines I've drawn were these eyebrows as I apply an entire face of makeup while driving through the canyon. I've since stopped doing that, though, since my makeup routine became more involved and began to require the use of a damp beauty blender. Dear god, this could go on forever.. bye!


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