Stress and Driving

I am frequently stressed while driving. One would think that knowing the Nashville streets so well, having grown up here, my anxiousness would be at a minimum. Instead I find that my stomach is perpetually tight whether I am cruising down the highway or stopped at a red light. 

It took flying to San Jose, CA to realize why I get so stressed driving. No, I didn't go there to meet with a psychologist who specializes in driving stress, although I would imagine that if someone like that existed, they would have a ton of clients. Here's what happened. We arrived on Monday night, rented a car and drove down to Los Gatos, where we stayed for the week. Driving that bright red Chevy Aveo (tiny little thing that takes about 2.2 minutes to get up to 60), I realized almost immediately (I wasn't even up to 60 yet) that I wasn't anxious - Even though I was driving an unknown car in an unknown city at a very late hour. Mercy me, all the cars around me were what I would call "model drivers." People weren't speeding around one another at 20 miles over the limit, no one tailgated, folks were letting each other in. Shoot - no one was cutting anybody else off! What amazing land of driving was this?!

We did a lot of driving while we were there - San Jose, San Fransisco, Santa Cruz, attending a dear friend's wedding events and sight seeing. I don't remember one time that I was anxious while driving. I'm not really sure why Northern California drivers are so considerate - perhaps because it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, because road signage is well placed, or because they seem less stressed about life in general. Maybe these people just know how to drive.  

It certainly made me dread coming back to the Nashville drivers. I don't know why Nashville drivers are so hyped up. I mean, really, do people think that I will speed up if they ride my bumper? Just so all of you tailgaters know, I am not that easily intimidated. I like going the speed limit. And what is up with the power hungry attitude? Forget about trying to merge into traffic around here....getting in front of someone is a capital offense!! Even us good drivers have to become aggressive sometimes just to be able to get where we need to go. Take it easy, people. Do yourself and your neighbor a favor by leaving space between you and the car in front of you and letting others in. I promise life will be less stressful if you do, I should know.

I loved Northern California for many reasons. It's incredibly beautiful, nice weather, some of my favorite people live there, and last but not least - driving is like going to the spa. Bravo to the drivers of Northern California. You gave me a bit of relaxation last week that I wasn't expecting.


Amanda Conley said...

I wanna drive there! (Well, not TO there, but once I GET there.)

SandyBeach said...

Amazing! I think you just hit a bunch of unusually good California drivers. Out here we are usually complaining about the people cutting us off, talking on cell phones despite the laws, or driving so slow that you want to smack them. I'm a bit worried about visiting Tennesee now. At least, maybe I won't drive while there.

Loved having you and Jacob in California for the short while we did. Loved your music. Loved your smile. Come Back please!

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