I was driving southbound on the 5 freeway in Los Angeles yesterday evening at around six p.m. This is crazy, you say? Of course it is. And I make this 450 mile trip at least twice a month! As I drove I watched the people around me. I saw a car going the other direction in which one man (passenger) was laughing uncontrollably and talking on a cell phone. The other man (driver) was completely stoic and looking straight at the road ahead. I thought, Hmm… those two men are having entirely different experiences here in the traffic today. I resisted the sudden urge to yell at the man driving, “Sucks to be you!”
As I drove, and watched everyone get all fucked up and frustrated because they can’t seem to get two or three cars further up in line, I began to wonder. Why is it that we get so angry when we’re stuck in traffic? Why, as two bloggers have recently pointed out, is a double drive-thru conducive to stabbings?
I was perfectly happy in my car, moving at a snail’s pace. But why? Well, I had great music on the stereo. I was comfortable. It was hotter than hell out there, but I had my A/C on. I had a full tank of gas. Now, don’t get me wrong! I was in a hurry, just like everyone else! I very much wanted to get where I was going! After all, I was gonna get laid! This is important to me! But I was okay right where I was, too.
So is that it? Are we all in a hurry to be anywhere but here? Can we not enjoy where we are any more? We seem to have never outgrown that impatient childish question, “Are we there yet?”
I’ve been a lot of places. Which means I’ve been on my way to a lot of places! My father taught me very early on that you should never wait for the merriment to begin when you get to your destination. You should start the fun when you leave the house. That too, is part of the pleasure. We have all read the quips about how it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. And we all know this is really a lie. If I’m getting all dressed up to go to a big event for which I purchased tickets months ago, I’m pretty sure that when I remember the evening, it won’t be the journey that stands out. But the journey can certainly be a part of the lovely, exciting or quirky story.
So here is my conclusion. I say we should just enjoy ourselves right where we are. Because we certainly can’t enjoy ourselves right where we are not! I’m tired of being in a hurry to get where I’m not. Over There is usually overrated anyway.
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