Hell is other drivers

I like driving. I don’t like other drivers. It’s the main reason I disagree with the girl teen’s insistence that I be the person who gives her driving lessons. “Don’t trust any other driver on the road. They’re likely to do anything at any time.” I don’t want her to have my hangups with driving. I also know that it’s entirely possible that another car will suddenly be driving toward you, in your lane, on the Interstate or an exit ramp or a fast food drive-thru. A car might pass and cut you off while you are turning in an intersection. The car in front of you might suddenly turn 90 degrees and drive straight into a tree line. A driver might park their car in the bank drive-thru line and walk into the bank. Those are just the experiences that I remember most vividly. I’m not even counting the four way stop on Morrell that the drivers from one direction treat as always their right of way.

It doesn’t help that the five to six hours a day that I spend in the car driving children to and from their activities includes afternoon rush hour. Every day that I do that, I know my odds of being in an accident rise significantly. My stress habits of locking my jaw and grinding my teeth have been joined by smashing my tongue to the roof of my mouth until it dries out and sticks there. I’ve tried endlessly sipping a beverage to break the new habit, but it creates an additional discomfort that doesn’t lend itself to waiting several hours to relieve.

With all this driving, you would think that end of the school day pickup would be the easiest part of my schedule. Everyone there wants to safely retrieve their children and get on to their child’s next activity. Right? Wrong. High school students can do advanced level math, speak multiple languages, keep up with the requirements for half a dozen classes, coordinate schedules for multiple clubs and teams, do 24/7 tech support for all the senior citizens in their family, work part-time jobs and take a billion selfies daily, but they can not look both ways before crossing a street. School pickup is constant vigilance of a stream of high school students weaving in and out of cars and walking into the street without looking while also dealing with other drivers. Those other drivers park their car at a street sign and refuse to move forward with the other cars in line. They drive past the line and wedge themselves into the front of the line. They block the center aisle that is for school buses and moving traffic. They idle their engines with the windows rolled down so their cigarette smoke can be shared by everyone. They take over a street lane going the opposite direction and block intersections. After school pickup is completely unnecessarily chaotic because hell is other drivers.

When I happily say that I have nowhere to be, I’m not excited because I’m staying home. I’m happy not to be driving. No amount of singing or dancing can compensate for the stress of other drivers.

Ingredients for happiness

1. Sing out loud

I have a voice made for silent movies, but I sing when I’m driving. I’m quieter when the children are in the car, but I still sing. I don’t stop singing at red lights. It makes no difference to me what I look like to other drivers. If I’m singing, I’m happy. The only thing better than singing out loud is when the family joins in on the song. Those moments are golden.

2. Dance a little or a lot

Dancing in the car is a head bop or shoulder wiggle, but my happiest dancing is when I’m washing dishes. Standing at the sink is the best time to dance like nobody’s watching, even if they are.

3. Cats and dogs

Never miss a chance to pet a dog. Laugh at dog noses poking out car windows. Accept the forced relaxation of a cat in your lap. Cats and dogs are pure happiness. Visit Positive Psychology Coach Westchester NY when you want therapy and become a little bit happier in your life.

Find the things that make you happy. Seek them. Embrace them, make sure to check the ap psychology review to get to know yourself a little more.

annual Thanksgiving prep convo

He: “I have one day available before Thanksgiving company arrives. What would you like me to focus on getting done?”
She: “The bathroom and kitchen need scrubbing. I’d like a driver for the grocery shopping so I don’t have to deal with the chaos of the grocery store parking lot.”
He: “I was thinking of painting the ceilings.”
She: < - Imagines the ceiling covered in putty, plastic drapes on the furniture, temporary walls and paint supplies piled in every corner for the entire holiday season. -> “No painting.”
He: “You’re going to whine that the *ceiling needs painting all year.”

*He’s right. I will.

TV ramblings

While I hope everyone involved in the dumpster fire that is Inhumans is sitting on a time-out bench, thinking about what they did, I am loving The Gifted. The world they’re building and the characters inhabiting it are deliciously absent the sad trope of good and evil. Still, there are some directions they seem to be heading that parallel the Professor X vs Xavier survival philosophies. While I normally steer clear of anything that involves harm to children or animals, I am not rooting for Polaris to keep her child. Every time that child cries, she’ll stab it with a diaper pin. In the same vein, when they kill off characters in the season finale, they should ditch the mom trying to have domestic bliss and school in a war zone. Her behavior is silly and dangerous. It’s easy to suspend belief when the characters are using superpowers, but the MacGyver surgery she does should have every patient dying of sepsis and her own son should have bled out. She needs to go.

Last Man on Earth adding babies has steered them into traditional sitcom territory and away from the Oregon Trail comedic death march that made it unique. Give Kristen Schaal her own show. She is a comedic genius.

The first season of Riverdale was an evil fun, teen soap. The characters should have been college students instead of high schoolers, but it was still fascinating to see the dark twist on the comic characters. This season, the adults are completely horrible and the unparented teens are endlessly stupid.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place need to stay on the air forever.

I suffered through Iron Fist and regret that it was white privilege drivel because it could have made great gifs for our current political climate, but I’m not watching The Punisher. Yuck.

conceptual nap

I think I like the idea of naps better than actual naps. Because I am perpetually exhausted, I always claim to be looking for the free time to nap. I never met a nap meme that I didn’t like and/or share. Naps sound luxurious and refreshing.

If I actually take a nap in the late afternoon, I wake with a dull headache and have a terrible night’s sleep. If I take a nap in the early afternoon, I wake feeling like I’ve wasted half the day.

The best thing for me to relax and refresh is a book nap. One chapter to de-stress and two chapters to feel pampered. Two chapters in the bathtub? Heaven.

youth basketball

I’ve sat on the sidelines of hundreds of Color Guard and Winter Guard practices and performances. I’ve stood beside the husband while he juggles fire. I have never feared for my safety as much as I do at the middle school child’s basketball practices. There are hordes of balls being thrown in every direction on the court, the sidelines, the bleachers, the halls and everywhere in between.

Adults sit on the sidelines of the court and assume a hunched shoulder, slightly sideways posture in the hope that stray basketballs will harmlessly thunk heads and shoulders instead of smashing eyeglasses or sending paperwork flying. Paperwork and paperbacks are the multitasker’s safest option at basketball practices. Since you’re basically trying to work while sitting in the middle of a dodgeball game, it can’t be anything that requires actual concentration or uses fragile electronics.

I think it’s time to make plexiglass ice hockey partitions a requirement for youth basketball. Until then, can they practice on an ice hockey rink?

mom’s car

A year and a half ago, I got a new car. During the annoyingly lengthy shopping process, the husband asked me what I would choose to drive if I could have any car in the world and I told him a classic red Mustang. We bought a Nissan Rogue. The husband chose to include every safety feature offered. I drive a playpen. No, that’s not accurate. I drive a purse. The hand lotion is in the driver’s door pocket. The chargers are in the center console, but the bottle opener is in the top tray. There’s a barf bag and emergency potty in the glove box behind the mountain of fast food napkins, straws and spoons. Tissues and clorox wipes are in the middle section. The emergency blanket, first aid kit, trash bags, paper towels, jumper cables and stadium seats are in the rear section.

It’s not the car I asked for, but it’s the car I need… with everything I hope to never need.

Today, I rolled my window down and a spider dropped into the car. Before I could scoop it up and toss it back out, it escaped to the middle of the car where a spider lifetime of crumbs are hidden in the seat cushions. That spider has probably invited all his friends to live in my car and they’re definitely all brown recluses.

Obviously I’m going to need a new car now.