Julianne Byer

  I’ll tell you what the big idea is: traffic. That’s right you heard me. I’m talking grid-lock, bumper to bumper, if this Explorer in front of me brakes one more time I’ll personally get out to go and see what’s going on, traffic. Now I’ve never exactly understood the concept of it, even though a countless number of people have tried to explain the dynamics and internal structure of the cars versus the highway. Puh-lease. Traffic is about some moron two miles ahead of me braking because he just had to rubber-neck and see a family get out and stretch on the side of the road. From here on we have what’s known as the “snowball effect,” which leads to everyone braking without knowing why, which then leads to me, two miles behind, screaming and cursing obscenities at the car in front of me.

  Cue slap in the face … now. I had a sort of epiphany last weekend, if one can call them that. But for the sake of you continuing to listen to me rant, I’ll stick with epiphany. This is all too familiar, me rehashing my latest outburst and most likely un-called for tantrum. I was stuck in Los Angeles on 405, or THE 405, or the Freaking 405, or whatever you want to call it. And of course even on a Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Los Angeles there was traffic, why everyone chooses to drive at the exact same time I’ll never know, but I digress-

   There I was trying my hardest to keep cool and be the little lady I’m supposed to be, while secretly devising a plot to mow down every car in front of me just for a bit of excitement and 15 minutes of fame on the evening news. This is where the realization comes in. Like I already mentioned, I was screaming, complaining, pouting and everything else you would expect from a young adult as we finally start gaining speed.  This of course is short-lived and the Explorer in front of me brakes, along with the tiny ounce of patience that I had. And then it hit me – the epiphany luckily, not the Explorer. I realized that I hated the people in front of me without knowing who they were – the very foundation of road rage as we know it. They were people like me. People that were trying to get somewhere they needed to be on time and instead found themselves dying very slowly of boredom and pent up rage. People who curse under their breath as seemingly every Cal Poly student walks across the crosswalk at the EXACT same time, leaving you and a long line of cars idling for them to stroll across with a cell phone glued to the side of their face. 

    As you can probably tell this epiphany was not a comforting one. I realized that I am the jerk I always complain about. The ones that won’t let the little things, even traffic, be as minor as they are. The car behind me hated me just as much as I hated my favorite Explorer. It was a huge grid-locked line of cars on 405 honking, breaking and most importantly, hating each other, one after another. And these feelings creep in so often during our everyday lives it’s scary to think about. However, as much as I complain and rant and rave, pout and spew countless obscenities, someone out there is doing just the same. But to me.

   So where to go from here? It isn’t very likely that we’ll all throw our agendas aside and just enjoy the time we sit in traffic to ponder life’s little nuances. But it is something to think about, a little extra life lesson for your grandkids. Well, that and the fact that driving in LA should be avoided like the plague to save you early gray hairs and well, that whole “sake of sanity” thing.

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