Expectations (or Setting Yourself Up to be Disappointed)

I’ve been commuting for about 15 years now and my drive is just over 21 miles one way. Each and every morning I set out with the expectation that I will be able to complete this commute with little to no drama. My expectation is that people will use their turn signals, use the “fast lane” to go fast and to at least drive the speed limit. Each and every morning I find that the rest of my fellow commuters are in no way living up to my expectations. It’s almost as if they have all met at a coffee shop prior to getting on the road and coordinate how they can maximize the amount of irritation I experience in the 30 minutes or so I’m driving. From the cute little blonde that thinks her turn signal is actually something to hang her jewelry from to the guy in the ridiculously huge 4×4 truck that thinks because his vehicle is the biggest, it’s ok for him to drive 10 mph under the speed limit, while traveling in the fast lane, these people test my patience daily and I usually fail to some degree. I’ve tried deep breathing (you know you can almost pass out if you do it enough) to praying (it’s not so much the praying, but what I’m asking for when I pray…”please send down a stream of consciousness to this zombie in the BMW, Lord”) to absolutely losing it (that’s when I use all my special words) I have tried about every way possible to deal with this phenomenal and ongoing irritation, except the one thing that would work – adjust my expectations. Expect that people will not use their turn signals, rear and side view mirrors, expect that they will text, talk on the phone, put on makeup, shave, space out and try to plan their Thanksgiving dinner while driving. Expect that there are at least 5% under the influence of some sort of mind-altering substance, including sleep deprivation, on the road at 6:00 – 6:30 a.m. Expect that there will be those drivers that are so righteous that they refuse to move to another lane, even though there are 20 cars piling up behind them. After all, these are human beings I’m dealing with and as we all know, are imperfect and flawed. What on Earth would make me believe that my expectations would be met?

So, this morning when I head out, I will adjust accordingly and make another expectation; whatever will happen, I will be able to handle without losing it, I will listen to some soothing music and expect people to do what people do. It sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it? We’ll see how it goes.



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