We’re on the cusp of another Thanksgiving. It’s that special time of the year — my favorite holiday on the calendar (excepting my own birthday, which is, objectively the best) –where I spend 5+ hours in traffic from Seattle to Portland avoiding car accidents, inclement weather, fellow terrible drivers, and road construction stretching miles.
Every year I go down to visit my family for Thanksgiving and every single year I self-medicate for the journey with oddles of junk food and candy. How can you be upset in traffic when you’re eating jelly beans?
Let me tell you something: it’s possible.
It’s not only possible, it’s guaranteed that no matter what else happens on Thanksgiving weekend, if my Aunt G. forgets the deviled eggs, or my Aunt N. and I never make it to a movie, if my cousins don’t spend a portion of the day engaged in clearly inane sports talk, if we never get around to turkey or don’t go Black Friday shopping at 5 a.m. for socks, I will most definitely and assuredly experience road rage that borders on tears from sheer total frustration.
Happy Thanksgiving indeed.
I see it coming every single year but it keeps happening. That’s the definition of insanity isn’t it?
I’ve tried to head off this road rage with alternate transportation. Taking the train is so romantic, isn’t it? Well it would be until you’re packed in like sardines with college freshmen on their first break from school. They think they know everything and isn’t school impossibly hard? You should see the paper they’re working on. And did you know about…
Not to mention, I’ve never once had a successful train trip down to Portland because inevitably there are mudslides and we have to bus it from Edmonds to Seattle. Bus rage might be more enjoyable as a group, but it’s still very personal for me.
So. It’s time for a new plan. It’s time to either arrive in Portland, or alternatively back home north of Seattle, stress-free and non-murderous. No doubt my mother, who is praying for my safe travels (not frustration free, just safe), would tell me to use that time to think of all the things I’m thankful for.
But in these situations I’m afraid I take after my father (is road rage inherited?) “I’m thankful for my car. I’m thankful that idiot in front of me also has a car so that he can ruin as many lives as humanly possible. And I’m thankful that no one knows the speed limit because it means we will all arrive at our destinations safe FIVE HOURS LATER THAN EXPECTED.”
Sarcasm is fun, but not in traffic.
No, this year I’m going to try not to rush. I have this absurd, wild aspiration to make it down to Portland in under two hours. Again, a gift from my father. Must arrive early. Must arrive yesterday if at all possible. But I’ve been in the car with drivers who don’t get road rage and I think I’ve learned the secret to their success.
They don’t mind going the speed limit. They don’t even mind if sometimes they go under the speed limit. It’s so incredible I don’t even know how to explain it. They seem to enjoy the drive!
I’ve always claimed to love driving, but admittedly there’s shockingly little proof. But what if I did take it easy? What if I didn’t panic that I’d let down Thanksgiving by arriving late? What if I enjoyed the drive and maybe stopped for coffee breaks and to stretch my legs and to eat a sandwich instead of funneling an entire can of Pringles furiously into my mouth?
This year I’m going to try something new. I’m going to enjoy the moment I live in and not the moments I don’t know about yet. It’s entirely possible I’ll spend huge amounts of moments in my car this coming weekend, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them. I guess I will be spending my Thanksgiving giving thanks a lot.
And more than likely deeply in prayer because I am most assuredly going to forget — several dozen times — that my goal is to enjoy the drive.
But dammit, I can do this.
If you’re traveling this weekend, or just experiencing rage because it’s a holiday, I’m sending up a prayer for you, too.
Stay safe, stay thankful, and be a blessing to your loved ones — and fellow travelers.