I’m Just Trying to Win.

At the start of the year, without telling anyone, I gave myself a challenge. It’s a challenge that I knew would be difficult, but I thought I could handle it. Getting ahead of this would require patience, understanding, and even courtesy. Still, I felt that I would be up to the task. I mean, it was not like this was something I couldn’t do. It seemed so easy, yet, I knew it would be difficult to carry through, especially if nobody else knew about it, and therefore would not be able to hold me accountable. I went for it. Sadly, it has been harder than I thought. I’ve made progress, and I’ve been optimistic that I would find that balance where I could allow myself some level of success, but I’ve yet to claim victory.

I issued myself what I’m calling “The Right Lane Challenge.” The rules are simple—basically, avoid the left lane. You’ve heard me whine about my commute, maybe once or twice. The main road is full of crazy, whether it’s bright sunlight, wet roadways, construction, accidents, or fruit flies, it seems anything at all will cause heavy traffic. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” I thought, “if everyone just cooperated?”

They do not. So here’s the thing… the official left lane speed limit is 55, but the unofficial speed limit is 70. I was there, man. Every morning, every night, 18 years, the left lane is the one that gets you there faster. But there’s all that extra stress. So, slide it on over. I’ve used the right (or center) lane for my commute since the first of the year. I try to find that sweet spot on the cruise control at around 63-64 mph that allows me to just blend in, enjoy the ride, and relax. It’s taken a while to get to this point, but it actually does work.

I have slowed down from the cruising speed to let people move in from the ramp. I talk to them in a calm voice and don’t call them nasty names. People don’t close within five feet of my taillights in the right lane. They just go around, and I don’t care. But, there’s still that spot approaching I-95 that gets me every time.

In fact, one morning as I approached that mixing bowl of stupid where traffic is merging from the right and exiting from the left, I was recounting my efforts to succeed at the right lane challenge, and was satisfied that I was doing such a good job. Then literally like five seconds later, I’m in the left lane following a yellow Scion with a big wing on the trunk doing 70. Why is this so hard?

But tomorrow is another day.   

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