Have you ever noticed how traffic congestion is so excellent at bringing out the worst in everyone? Just think about it—it has all the stress factors necessary to cause each driver’s Achilles heel to rear its ugly head and take over their attitudes and emotions, turning them into insane monsters.
If you reach out with your senses (all of them, physical and non-physical) you can watch the drivers around you. As you watch, you begin to notice the changes that come over them, until soon you can recognize who’s in the thrall of their Achilles heel and who isn’t. (It’s a great way to overcome the stress and avoid your own transformation into Traffic Monster.;-)
Look, over there –in the black Mustang. See how’s he’s pounding on the steering wheel and drumming his fingers (and not the type of drumming that people do when they’re enjoying some song on the radio)? Now he’s revving the engine and casting evil looks at the driver in front of him, as if it’s that fella’s fault that we’re stuck in this mess. Ahhh, we’re moving again, and here comes Mr. Mustang, jumping into our lane so he can go ten feet further than the guy that was in front of him.
Now I would guess that Mr. Mustang’s chief feature is probably impatience, wouldn’t you—finger drumming, hand pounding, racing to get ahead. Yeah, impatience is probably a good guess for him.
There’s another driver, this one is in a beige Camry. See how she’s letting everyone in ahead of her even though the light has changed and is green for her? I can almost read her mind: “…well, their drive is probably longer than mine…”, or “…they’re probably more important than I am…”. Self-deprecation if ever I saw it. It doesn’t matter that she’s been on the road nearly as long as I have, she simply can’t believe she’s worthy of getting home any sooner than anyone else. (And just look how frustrated she’s making Mr. Mustang.)
Oh, now here comes a good one. See how he’s trying to hog the entire road; slowing down and speeding up so that no one can pass or get in front of him? Talk about greedy. You can just see how much he believes he owns the entire road and he refuses to share it with anyone else.
And what about that gal behind you? See the way she’s clutching the wheel, and the determination etched into her face? She’s got the stubborns all right. She’s not going to change routes or lanes or anything else, no matter how much traffic congestion the world throws at her.
Here comes Mr. Self-destruction; weaving through traffic like a skier cutting through a black diamond slope. It doesn’t matter that the traffic is crawling, he’s still going to zip around the road doing 50 or 60mph. And when he can’t get through the traffic in the regular way, he’ll…yep, there he goes, racing up the shoulder. I guess he’ll stop when he either hits another car or that bridge abutment up ahead. But then that’s self-destruction for you—it never does let you believe in your own mortality, does it?
Then there’s Mr. Arrogant, driving down the road in his huge, extravagant (and probably over-priced) vehicle. See him preening and trying to look oh-so impressive? Yep, definitely bought that car to make up for something 😉 He just has to try and impress people with his what? Good taste? Expensive taste? Flash? Size? Doesn’t matter, really, does it, when you’re stuck in the grip of arrogance?
And finally, there’s Ms. Martyr. Just look at her face; it’s written all over her. You can feel the “oh, woe is me” emotion just rolling off of her. Listen to her: “Poor me. No one cares that I’m going to be late. No one cares that I’m having a bad day.”
“Sure just cut me off; what do you care that I might have a heart attack from all the stress you’re causing me. It’s not like anyone cares about me.” Yep, that’s the wailing call of the martyr if ever I heard one.
It’s interesting, though, watching the 7 different major fears grab hold and lead everyone along without them even realizing what’s happening. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a bit better about myself. After all, now I know that no one reacts well to traffic stress; that we’re all prone to give into our Achilles heels when the stress gets too high.
So what’s your Achilles heel—what traffic monster do you become when traffic congestion gets to you? Are you impatient, greedy, self-destructive, stubborn, self-deprecating, arrogant, or feeling like a martyr?