Zack Vayda and the Perception of Traffic
Living in Columbus means lots of traffic. If you're driving anywhere in the city, you're better off staying off all the major highways between 7-9am and 4-6pm. Since I live just a few miles north of the city center, I can't get anywhere without hitting traffic. One might think that means I'm used to the crazy drivers and the stop-and-go monotony, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Bad driving and lack of progress still gives me as much road rage as when I first moved here.
Yesterday I was heading home from work on I71, the highway that possibly gets the worst in the afternoon rush hour, when yet another large SUV swerved around me. This time the driver wasn't even regarding basic driving rules as it was driving on the shoulder, not even in a legitimate lane. The windows were tinted so I couldn't see who was driving. While the groan of the rumble strip waned as the SUV got further away, I found myself trying to resist making comparisons of the size of the vehicle to certain "inadequacies" of the driver. It was around then when I took a mental step back.
In situations like this, I always assume the worst of the person. "They're just impatient, they think they're more important than everyone else, they never actually did get their drivers license or any other certificate approving basic levels of mental capability," etc. But then I realized that I can't assume those things. In fact, I can't assume anything. All I can rely on is what I perceive with my own five senses, because that is my reality. In my reality, there is no evidence suggesting the intentions of the driver, positive or negative. Because of this, the drivers intentions, the drivers reasons, even the driver himself/herself is nonexistent in my world.
If I deconstruct the situation, if I go off only of what my five senses tell me, there is only one thing I know to be fact; a vehicle drove by me.
Well, now that doesn't sound so negative. When I put it like that, what's the point of assuming the driver (that I never even saw) had malicious intent? I have to go out of my way to assume that of the driver, and it doesn't do me and my reality any good. If anything, I should assume the driver had a legitimate reason to speed by, because that brings more positivity into my reality as opposed to negativity.
In our personal realities, we have lots of real negativity to deal with on a daily basis. We have to process and deal with every bit of negativity that comes our way, which takes time and effort. Maybe it would do us some good, both short term and long term, to not go out of our way to bring more negativity in our lives.
We have more control than we think.