How to Enjoy Driving

Updated: Mar 8, 2019


As I was driving home from the library tonight I turned on the radio and got annoyed as—classic Vermont—the radio started cutting in and out. After a few disgruntled channel swaps I pressed a button to see if I had a CD loaded up. Nope. Then I pressed another to see if my phone was connected. Nice. Chill music—Ben Howard's "Old Pine" for mammals that care.


Then, lured in by the contemplative guitar music, I pulled a mindfulness and started noticing my feelings. I was annoyed that I didn't get perfectly clear music delivered through the air to my climate-controlled, comfy-seated motor box.


Well when you put it that way...


There are plenty of annoyances about driving that humans are eager to stew about. There's something to Dostoyevsky's assertion that we're "ungrateful bipeds." Here's a troubleshooting guide for your driving adventures.


Problem:

My parking spot is far from my final destination.


Solution:

Park, and read this article, which I love. Then saunter across the parking lot or around the block with an improved outlook on life.


Problem:

I'm bored.


Solutions:

A. Count telephone poles. A fairy might grant you a wish if you count 100 in a row.


B. Play a cool podcast, audiobook, song, or radio channel.


C. Recognize that you're alive and able to drive and that you're passing dozens of fascinating scenes at breakneck pace. This moment is unique. The world isn't going to be like this again, so you may as well notice it.


Problem:

I'm uncomfortable.


Solution:

A. Stop for a minute and walk around, especially if it's a long trip. Maybe set yourself an alarm to stop every hour or two and move?


B. Try moving your seat around, opening a window, changing the A/C or heat, or shifting the height of the steering wheel.


C. You are basically traveling on a rolling couch. Have you even played Oregon Trail? You could have dysentery by now. This is not really a solution, but maybe the reminder will help you feel a little better about your situation.


Problem:

Other drivers are being stupid.


Solutions:

A. Remember that at some point, you have driven stupidly.


B. Act to alleviate your concern. They're too slow or swervy? Pass them safely, or take a back way. They're tailgating you? Swallow your "but I'm already over the speed limit" pride and pull over so they can pass.


C. Make up a compassionate reason that that person might be driving stupidly.

For example: Too fast? Their spouse is going into labor and the doctors predicted complications. Too slow? They're being extra cautious after just having recovered from a traumatizing accident. Swerving a little? Their small child just puked in the back seat because of side effects of a new type of chemo. On their phone? They finally got a call from their husband who has been working in a war zone with no contact for three months. You can get as extreme as you need to to make the patient, compassionate part of your brain wake up. Making up stories is also a great way to deal with being bored.


I hope you found this fun and potentially useful. It was fun to write on my end, and full of reminders I often need myself!



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