Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rethinking Los Angeles Driving

On July 1st last year, my reluctant quest to become a car-owner again ended with my acquisition of an automobile and the requisite insurance policy. Mostly, I wasn't very happy about having a car-dependent lifestyle again, especially after having articulated my passion for making it car-free in Los Angeles.

I've adjusted again, as many people who live and drive in Los Angeles must. It takes a shift in thinking. Of course, this doesn't mean being complacent about a world where we create so much pollution just to get around in our own big chunks of metal (some prettier than others), but it does mean perhaps shifting to a kinder, gentler view of our fellow commuters.

Everyone is just trying to get around, and I honestly don't believe the ass-holery that we see on the road is often intentional. I thought about how I have no idea how many times I've done things that frustrated others on the road, and how many times I have made moves that were embarrassing and probably annoyed people. To avoid becoming too jaded, angry, overwhelmed by all the traffic mishaps, I've had to learn to be forgiving. Driving Angelenos might be a much more understanding, forgiving people than we realize. Drive from East LA to Santa Monica on a Friday during rush hour and see.

In the end, the person in the car that cut you off is as much a person as you are; equally human, equally imperfect (though at the moment you might think them much moreso).

Compassion is a great coping mechanism.

Image from alforque

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