Lifestyle / QLC

From the Archives…Why Driving Is Also Your Life

I think that the way a person drives is an excellent indicator of how they approach life. First point: until you’re 17, you don’t even know how to, but you think you do, “how hard could it be”?Using myself as an example: I always drive too fast,  a little recklessly, and with music as the central focus.But it’s deeper than those generalizations.  It’s not about the actual MPH, it’s about the efficiency of getting from point A to point B, it’s about not wasting any time.  I’m so preoccupied with that ten minutes I could save if idiot number 70604 could PUHLEASE move out of the left lane, I could maybe be on time for once (no chance). Likewise, I’m so anxious to get to my next place in life… graduate highschool, college, get a job, get a better job, live the dream, be happy, be anything- be anywhere- other than right here, NOW NOW NOW how do i do it FASTER?!I have ADHD (a legitimate biological condition involving the chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters that regulate behavior control.  Low activity in the prefrontal cortex, which the brain compensates for with increased sensitivity to stimuli, disrupts attention and causes hyperactivity.  it is NOT laziness, it is not an excuse to do whatever you want. shutup and educate yourself),  and I’m an energetic, anxiety-driven workhorse that takes failure really badly. Which means I’ve got a list of coping mechanisms longer than my list of why I should never, but will always, date musicians.  For driving, that explains a lot of my speeding tickets-  I have to engage myself, because distracted driving is just no bueno.   So how do I keep my ever wandering eyes on the road?  I turn driving into a video game and play a fighter pilot. I check my mirrors 1,2,3 switch 1,2,3 switch, I anticipate the movements of other cars, I strategically assess when to change lanes, when to speed up, when to back off, which side of the road is moving faster, shit is that a cop? Oh and I hate wearing a seat belt, because it’s annoying. Like sweaters are annoying.  I stay focused with the same methods- I make everything a crisis, because a crisis means my attention is entirely directed at resolving said crisis.  Enter procrastination, emotional investment and the resulting drama, negative self-talk, self-destructive tendencies, disorganization, and chaos. Fun stuff!I’m impatient. I HATE stopping completely at a stop sign. there is clearly no one coming, so I’ll slow down, do that rolling stop, and boom I’m off gettin’ shit done.  I don’t like life stops either. For example, a breakup.  No, I will NOT completely sit still and think, assess my environment, allow the momentum to die, allow the engine to cool.  I want to roll into the next street, I’ll make a right and turn to that guy-I-connect-with-but-never-thought-of-that-way, that hot guy from high school that was in my physics class, your older brother, a girl… whatever.   There is something so distressing about being still, being entirely present.   I can’t just NOT drive, even if it’s the right thing to do- that brake pedal is tense under my foot, waiting to be set free, wanting to give in to the overwhelming weight of the car it restrains and passively arrive somewhere else.Navigation:  I get lost easily, I have zero sense of direction, and don’t even get me started on the parking garages at universal citywalk. fuck was that it or is it this street?  am i going towards vineland or cahuenga? WHAT THE HELL 405 NORTH RAMP OFF WILSHIRE THIS IS RIDICULOUS. even with a gps, even in my hometown, even walking out of target to my car -you laugh but i’m serious, it’s horrible- i still find myself frantic, stresssed, and making blatantly illegal u-turns. . once again, in life i tend to find myself maneuvering through the same situations with the same sense of overwhelming incompetence, whether i was at the wrong job, with the wrong guy, thinking the wrong way… I just can’t seem to figure out how to read a map.lastly, and possibly most-ly, I’m a world champion in emotional (aka irrational) decision making.  I’ll take the long way because it’s prettier, I’ll avoid certain roads because I decided that I hate them.  For you LA kids, San Vicente is my arch nemesis, I think he is a total asshole d-bag.  Life stuff:  15 bucks for a t-shirt? get outta here. Wait but it’s organic and saves bunnies and is hanging next to the jicama at whole foods? sold. I still won’t go to mobile (exxon) because of the oil spill that happened when I was like, 4.  It extends to irrational fears, like my ridiculous behavior at night that my therapist refers to as the adult version of being afraid of the dark.  Driving alone at night, I’m always afraid there’s a man lying in my backseat and he’ll pop up in my rearview.  I also weirdly hate seeing headlights on an otherwise empty road.   As a self sufficient and independent adult, the idea of being alone in an apartment at night is terrifying and I thank whatever gods may be for my ambien prescription.Ultimately my fears in life and in driving are the same: wasting time, and being alone when it’s dark outside.  Neither one something rational (ha!), like dying in a car crash. C’mon Alanis, that was clever

By Callie Ray

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