How to Survive your Morning Commute

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How to Survive your Morning Commute Traffic view

Life has its way of throwing a lot of abuse at us.  Sitting in traffic
is probably one of the worst kinds of this torture, even more so when it’s
happening at 8 in the morning on a Monday on your way to work.  You know
what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about…

Your morning commute.

The bane of every adult’s existence.  The bumper to bumper traffic, the
people blaring their horns when you have nowhere to even go, the cars that
apparently didn’t make it off the assembly line with working blinkers – it’s a
depressing experience, to say the least.  It’s a collection of all the
worst humanity has to offer and the daily dose of road rage it inspires is
definitely not the best way to start your day.  But believe it or not, it
doesn’t have to be completely awful.  There are ways to make it
bearable.  Dare I say even…enjoyable?  Okay, you’re right. 
That’s pushing it.

Here’s how to survive your morning commute.

Jam out

There’s no better way to get rid of the morning blues and distract yourself
from the misery of traffic than some good ol’ car karaoke.  And I don’t
mean just listening to the radio.  I mean make yourself a playlist of your
absolute guiltiest pleasures – songs you know every word to but wouldn’t dare
let anyone catch you singing.  My personal favorites are Britney Spears
and The Beastie Boys, but your tastes may vary.  Turn up the volume and go
crazy.

Don’t worry about the other people around you.  Sure, they might be
looking at you like you’ve lost your mind, but one of you is miserable and grumpy
and one of you is jamming out to some sweet tunes and having fun.  Spoiler
alert: you’re not the miserable one.

Listen up

If you lack the energy in the morning for an all out concert in your car,
podcasts are a pretty good alternative to tune into and zone out the
traffic.  There are literally thousands out there, ranging from comedy and
politics to ultra specific topics like unsolved mysteries and true crime. 
If there’s something you’re interested in, there’s a podcast in this universe waiting
for you.

They’re useful for catching up on recent events, brushing up on your
Spanish, getting some advice on flirting, or even learning some obscure fun
facts about Malaysian tigers you can impress your coworkers with over
lunch.  As an added bonus, you won’t look as ridiculous listening to a
podcast as  you would singing to Mariah Carey at the top of your lungs.

Stay in your lane

We’ve all seen that one guy who’s weaving in between lanes in heavy traffic and only ends up one or two cars ahead.  Sometimes he even ends up falling behind while the lane he just left lurches forward.  And then we smirk smugly to ourselves and think, “Was it worth it?”  Sometimes this satisfaction quells the beast in us, calming us down enough to not hop out of our car and smack the offender over the head with one of our floor mats for cutting us off.

But the thing is, sometimes we get restless and the temptation to do commit
this cardinal sin ourselves is a little too strong.  I’ll admit it – I’ve
been that guy.  You’ve been that guy too.  You don’t need to lie to
me.  Let’s just make an oath right here and right now to not be that guy
anymore.

It’s not a race

You  know when you’re in gridlock traffic, like absolute dead stop, not
moving at all, ready to rip your hair out, and when you finally start moving 20
minutes later expecting to see the source of the traffic jam there’s nothing to
be found?  It’s kind of disappointing isn’t it?  All of that for
nothing.  Not even a consolation prize to gawk at and gossip at the water
cooler.  What a bummer.

There’s actually a name for when traffic seemingly materializes out of
nowhere.  It’s called a traffic wave, and it’s the worst.  It’s caused
by one person braking suddenly, causing the person behind them to brake
suddenly in response so that they don’t rear end them.  Then the person
behind that person has to do the same, and this causes a rippling effect in
that lane that eventually causes bumper to bumper traffic.

Eventually, you get That One Guy who gets impatient and cuts off someone in
the next lane over, who now has to brake suddenly.  Now the person behind
them has to brake suddenly too, and then the person behind that person, and now
there’s a rippling effect in this lane too, which inevitably causes some
another variance of That Guy to swerve over into the next lane, causing another
rippling effect.

Eventually, you’re stuck in a traffic jam that makes you want to scream out
words that would make your grandmother blush.  While your impatience may
lead you to be That Guy, remember, we already promised each other we’d stop
that.

So what’s the solution here?  Chill out.  It’s not a race. 
Ease off the gas and leave some room between you and the car in front of
you.  And if That Guy takes that as an invitation to swerve into your
lane, let him and create some more space between the two of you.  You
ideally want to reduce your braking as much as possible.  That’s what got
everyone into this mess in the first place.

Make friends

There’s this one old school Chevy Impala that I see on my way to work every
morning.  We usually “meet up” where I hop onto the main highway
and hang out all the way until I get off at the exit to the city I work
in.  It sounds goofy but I actually look forward to seeing him (or her?)
every day and sometimes I get a little bummed out when I don’t.

Try to keep an eye out for a familiar face -or in this case, car- and see if
you can make some commute buddies to chill with while you’re sitting in
traffic.  Who knows, maybe you’ll catch them participating in some car
karaoke of their own.  And if nothing else, it’s nice to know you’re
suffering together.

Make yourself comfortable

Look, if you’re going to be stuck in your car for the next 45 minutes, the
least you can do is make sure you enjoy it the best you can.  Surround
yourself with things that make you happy…or as happy as you can be in
traffic, anyway.  Stick  your favorite air freshener to your air vents. 
Slip some sweet leather seat covers on your seats.  Put one of those
little hula girls on your dashboard to keep you company.  Grab a coffee on
the way to work and sip on it every time you feel like yelling in frustration.

It’s the little things that make all the difference in the end, and going
into the venture with the right mindset is the first step to success.  If
you can at least climb in and buckle up feeling good about sitting in that
seat, you’re already on the right track.  Plus, coffee makes everything
better.

And that concludes the Ultimate Morning Commute Survival Guide.  Of course, you’re always free to stick to the usual methods of shooting daggers from your eyes at every other driver on the road and clenching your fists hard enough to leave indents on your steering wheel cover if you prefer.  Road rage is pretty trendy, after all.

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