The Road to Tranquility

FOR THE SECOND TIME, I’ve signed up to participate in a 21-day Meditation Challenge with Deepak Chopra, the renowned Hindu Indian-American author, physician and all things “one-with-spirit” master.

The first time I did the Meditation Challenge, I lasted about 10 or 11 days, hoping that meditation would teach me to quiet my weary mind and give that hamster on the wheel in my head a moment’s rest before he pops a few more Bennies and gets back on. This time, more agitated than ever, I’m committed to sticking it out the entire 21 days.

Deepak (since we’ve meditated together, I think I can call him by his first name) suggests meditating in the morning, since a good night’s sleep encourages the right state of mind for an optimal meditation experience. Initially, this sounds sensible enough, but even Deepak would shudder at the opposing forces that wait for me on the other side of my harmony-seeking meditation: the morning commute.

It is a fact that all the driving misfits in the universe converge into one lane – mine – causing me to appreciate the satisfying benefits of both transformational meditation and the Open Carry law in the same moment. Yes, I want to expand my universal understanding but I want to take target practice, too.

It’s hard for me to get to a place of peace and tranquility, namely because of my daily struggle with these drivers who personify the “challenge” in “Meditation Challenge.”

The Texter – As the worst offender, you top the list, Texting-While-Driving. You’re going to kill us all, but until you do, you’ll wreak havoc on all sides as you swerve, slow down and speed up while inserting just the right emoji into your message. The emoji I want to send you can’t be printed in this family publication, so I’ll just text it to you and get out of your way.

The Sunday Driver – Oh, Sunday Driver, you’ve got nowhere to go and all day to get there. The entire highway is your personal school zone. But since this is a workday, you’re holding up the traffic in your wake for miiiiiiiles. When you finally get to that I-44/I-40 junction, you’ll suddenly realize that you shouldn’t even be in the left lane and you’ll brake as you mull over a way to get back into the middle lane. You rank half a car-length behind the Texter as a menace on the road.

The “I Can’t Drive 75” – Out of nowhere, you appear in my rearview mirror as if you’ve been shot from a cannon. I feel an urgent need to create an unspoken pact – and a barricade – with an unwitting Sunday Driver as I sidle up beside him and search my passive-aggressive soul (and my rearview mirror) for answers to the meaning of road rage.

The Rubbernecker – Granted, we’ve all earned this distinction at some point, but the sanctity of the morning commute must garner more attention than the fender bender or blowout on the shoulder. Besides, staring at a fresh accident carries all the bad juju that comes with watching a fellow skier fall – it’s highly contagious.

Braker Braker – What is the MATTER with you? There are no puppies or unattended children wandering around on the highway. Take your foot off the brake before the rest of us unleash our inner Speed Racer and send you into next week.

The Hauler – You have something to haul, and it’s usually precariously strapped onto a flatbed trailer or wobbling in the back of a truck. Here’s a late-breaking message: half of the haul is flying out and causing a backup behind you. And hey, here’s something – get out of the passing lane.

Methuselah – I admire and respect you, Methuselah, for insisting on driving well beyond what could be considered safe for you and anyone sharing the road. I’ll admit, from behind, it’s hard to tell the difference between you, the Texter and the Sunday Driver, but the point is the same: the morning commute is not your race. Yelling at you is like cursing a Walmart greeter and that’s no way to start the day. It’s probably asking a lot, but if you wouldn’t mind catching an hour of Kathie Lee and Hoda before you head out, the rest of us will (hopefully) be out of your way.

Categories: Bits and Pieces, Lauren Hammack