It’s a hectic world, and most of us are thrust right into the middle of it every single day. People are multitasking on the highway (also known as texting and driving), sending and gathering information at lightning speeds (also known as Tweeting and driving), and utilizing their commute times efficiently (also known as eating a three-course meal, playing the ukulele, polishing their toenails, or coupon clipping while driving). Unfortunately, they’re doing all this extra stuff when they should be driving, thus making it difficult to navigate the carnage for the professional driver and further compounding the hectic in their life.
Trucking isn’t the only hectic job, it’s just one of the few in which you get to immerse yourself in the madness of others while traveling at high rates of speed. (I think it’s pretty evident why I don’t design recruiting posters.)
George has always handled the traffic thing a lot better than me, which is why he’s the professional drivah and I refrain from driving anywhere other than the grocery and liquor store. One day, Ohio is going to step into the future and sell liquor at the grocery store and my life will be complete. Until then, I have two driving destinations and they both originate and end less than five miles from our house. I am officially shotgun, and always have been. It’s what I do. Besides go to the grocery and liquor store, and we already covered all that.
I’ve gotten a lot better at handling the stress of watching people who insist on meeting Jesus in person sooner than I’d like to in traffic, but some days it still gets to me. I know everyone understands when I explain these days as the “Helen Keller 500,” and those are the days I just need to take a minute when they’re over.
People have different ideas of what “self-care” is, but in nursing school we learned it means to take time for yourself to decompress and process things, and we learned it’s very important for people who have high-stress jobs, or often find themselves in stressful situations. This includes people who ride shotgun through Cincinnati rush-hour traffic six times in one week.
My self-care includes disappearing into my office as soon as we get home. Sometimes, it goes even farther than that, and not even the solace of my office is enough to decompress from the madness of black BMWs trying to kill us at every get-off ramp between Sharonville and Florence. George tries to understand, but he’s become so used to the flagrant display of suicidal behaviors on the road, it’s sometimes hard for him to grasp the depth of my anxiety concerning four-wheelers rocketing across 18 lanes of traffic to make an exit.
“Babe? You in there? What are you doing?”
“I’m petting the cat.”
“Really? Because it looks like you’re sitting under your desk with a bag of marshmallows and a fuzzy blanket.”
“The cat is here too.”
“Well, I’m sitting under my desk with the cat, a bag of marshmallows and a fuzzy blanket. In my world, that’s perfectly fine, but I feel like others may judge the situation harshly.”
“Nah. Everyone already knows you’re crazy.”
“Thanks babe, that helps so much.”
And then he does a perfect impression of the nutso Asian guy in the “Hangover” movies and I remember why he’s my rock.
“But did you die?”
Good point, Mr. Parker. I’ll be out from under my desk as soon as I finish this bag of marshmallows…