Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: traffic

Dentist, Beer, and Breathing: A Podcast Roundup

It’s been a while since I did a Podcast Roundup and today’s is a BIG one. An adventure was had, and it included an early morning departure time to make a dentist appointment near the beach, the ensuing traffic, a hotel stay that made me feel as if I were in a submarine (I’m a little claustrophobic, so breathing exercises were needed), and a… um… “colorful” trip to Walmart for booze.

But there were plenty of podcasts, some a renewal of hope in technology, AND a beer and burger with one of my boys!

I’ll do my best to keep this less that short novel length, but let’s start at the beginning.

My dentist, who I love dearly and is better than any dentist in the world, is about 120 miles away. Why do I go? Because I get great personal service, and his office is on the beach. I don’t need to elaborate, do I? My son had an appointment at the same time, so we planned to meet there and then enjoy the afternoon at an Irish pub he found within walking distance.

I take into account the traffic that may occur and give myself plenty of time to get there, but this time…it didn’t work. But, by the miracles of technology, all was peachy. In my sweet new car that I JUST got last week, I could see on my GPS that there was no way around and that we were going to be about an hour late. I called the dentist, rescheduled, and then called my son so that we were all on the same page.

Yes, my friends, we are living in Star Trek times. I have interactive on-ship navigation, voice and text communications with home base, ship to ship communications, AND entertainment. Don’t even get me started on life support systems. I sat back, turned up the radio, and listened to another podcast.

I’m keeping these podcast notes to one sentence, hopefully, maybe one “line?” Let’s see.

The Happiness Lab: The Secret to Making Friends as an Adult

We need friends. I don’t like it either but it’s true. Humans are social animals. There’s a book to read.

People I (Mostly) Admire: A Million-Year View on Morality

I’m not sure I can go with this guy’s idea. We can’t even predict 100 years. How can you possibly know what’s going to be good for anyone a 100k years from now?

The Knowledge Project: Barbara Tversky: Action Shapes Thought

I like the idea. Didn’t get into this one much. It was while my new ship ran into galactic traffic issues.

Quillette: Meet the 80-year-old Feminist Who Got Banned From the YMCA for Protesting Male Bodies in the Women’s Locker Room

This one I’m putting on the playlist again. I couldn’t focus.

And then I arrived at my destination! Since I was so far from home, and I have other friends nearby to visit, I decided to take an evening to myself. I got a hotel room for the night but while I was trying to go to sleep, I started to have a panic attack. It was so hot outside, over 100 degrees. And So. Cal. is doing the Flex Alert thing (nice way of saying “We’re turning the power off for a while. Good luck, suckers!”) The A/C was working fine, but I need more air movement to feel comfortable. And what if the power goes off? Ahh! There was much breathing steadily and calming my heartrate.

Also, I found out that it’s not JUST Costco that you can’t buy alcohol in the self-checkout line, it’s a California law. Here’s the kicker. We have lots of self-checkout lines, but only one or two old-school checkers. So, if you want to buy booze, you’re gonna wait in line. It’s like a “cooling off period.” Do you really want that bottle? How long are you willing to wait? Ugg. Seriously!

If you do take a bottle in self-checkout, the machine says, “Call an attendant.” They come over and say you can’t buy it. Why can’t they just check my ID, like every other sane state?! I can’t… must not… lash out at… breathe in, breathe out… the ground beneath your feet, the air in your nostrils… all I want is a bottle of wine and some oreos. Is that too much to ask?

Still worth the driving though! I did all my “big city” shopping, had lunch (Tacos & Beer is amazing!) with one of my besties, and got to see my other son for a bit before I went home. He had to test drive the new car. Verdict: “It’s not as soul crushing as I thought it would be. PS When the therapist asks me what pushed me over the edge, I’ll have to say that my parents sold our family truck and got a subcompact SUV.”

podcast roundup
I gotta brag. She’s beautiful.

The drive home was much more peaceful. The smoke from the fires nearby was fantastic. I wish I could have stopped to take some pictures.

Cato Daily Podcast: What Can Presidents Take with Them When It’s Time to Leave?

Interesting interview, history, and yeah…don’t act like Trump is the first president to be an ass over his papers.

Freakonomics Radio: Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black America

Of all the podcasts I heard this week, this is the one I shared to my Facebook friends. Highly recommend.

No Stupid Questions: How Can You Improve Your Mental Endurance?

Great conversation. Lots of studies and analogies. It’s amazing what we DON’T know about the human mind.

And that’s it for today. I’ve been sitting here, enjoying the cooler temperatures all morning. It looks like fall is on its way and I’m ready to receive it!

podcast roundup
I was greeted with a big rain this morning!

Surrender to the Present: Yielding

Yielding, a little known trick to driving that is more than just being polite. I came across the perfect analogy for “surrender to the present.” Stay with me a moment.

Have any of you experienced merging onto the freeway lately? I have, quite a bit, and I’ve been rather vocal about my frustration with other drivers. Do we all need a refresher course on how this is supposed to be done? Or do we know and not care; we are the center of the universe and those trucks be damned!

surrender to the present

Let me ‘splain.

I’m on my way into the big (to me) city and I need to get on the freeway. I see the on ramp and take it. Ever notice how long and smoothly curved an on-ramp is? That’s so that I can take a good look at the traffic pattern and match my speed to the cars and trucks already travelling there. My job is to speed up or slow down to get in front of or behind existing vehicles, and then think about what to do next.

It’s the safest and most efficient way to do it. If I don’t, if I insist that I am the most important player here and force trucks to move over, or slam on their brakes to accommodate my present trajectory, I wreak havoc. The rest of the freeway has to adjust itself to the lane and speed changes. This is how more accidents and traffic jams occur.

This morning while I was reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, this is visual that came to me when I read, “Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”

Surrender to what is currently happening around you isn’t giving up and accepting the crap you see. It’s being in the moment, creating less friction, and being able to see more clearly and make better decisions.

It’s matching the speed of the cars on already on the freeway, then taking a look around and making your next move. It’s smart and it respects the other drivers.

I knew I had used that photo before and when I searched for it, I smiled. My new Drive Time Mantra came up! I could write a book on the similarities between driving and life in general.

More Episodes, Traffic, and Whiskey: A Podcast Roundup

How many episodes? Oh, you’ll see. Traffic goes without saying in Southern California, but mention it anyway. And… Did you say “whiskey?!”

Long title, I know, but I’m short on ideas this morning. The Podcast Roundup is officially BACK! I know you’re excited, as am I.

Last week’s podcast roundup, as I mentioned, was more of a single podcast sum up than a round up, mostly because the podcast was so long and had so much great stuff in it. This week, I listened to shorter episodes and had more time to listen thanks to some delightful drivers that decide to drive their box truck full of shoes on the far left, through a construction zone with narrowed lanes, at many miles-per-hour over the speed limit. They crashed, took out several cars (that were probably trying to get around it on the right going even faster), and dumped a load of shoes and destroyed the truck, scattering shoes all over the freeway.

Yeah, it was fun. It didn’t look like anyone was hurt, amazingly. A tow truck was there and highway patrol. There were people trying to pick up the shoes and put them back into boxes onto a pickup truck. It took me an extra hour to get home, BUT I got to listen to a whole podcast that I had meant to listen to last week when I ran out of time. So, as usual, everything works out in the long run.

Except for those people that smashed up their cars, of course. That would suck, but maybe it kept them from a worse fate. How can we know? I’m not sure if you can feel this through my words, but I have no sympathy for people on the freeway lately. You all drive like maniacs. I do not wish you harm, but sheesh…people…please.

On with the podcasts!

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos – “How do I stop negative self-talk?”

Chatter: The Voice in our Head (And How to Harness it) by Ethan Kross

This episode was beautiful. Yes, I bought the book. Hindsight: having Amazon on my phone is probably a bad idea. “Mental chatter stops you from focusing on what you love right now, right in front of you.” This podcast was filled with helpful ways to use your mental chatter in good ways. Even if you don’t buy the book, listen to this. Or, if you’re not a podcast listener, get the book. You won’t regret it.

Quillette Podcast # 193: Understanding Wokeness as a Make-Work Strategy for the Privileged Class

Wokeness, the Highest Stage of Managerialism by Malcom Kyeyune

I didn’t want to listen to this. Freakin’ Socialists…but he had some very interesting things to say, ideas that had never occurred to me. I wanted to know more, so I linked to the article he wrote. I’ll be reading that later today…if I have time. New word, or phrase: “Productive Class” Those who create something someone else needs or solve a problem through work. I like it much better than “working class.”

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast #325: Kerri Sullivan

I always love listening to Brendan O’Meara. I don’t know why. He just gets my heart. I never know the writers he talks to, and I rarely want to get the book they wrote, but I do like hearing their processes and thoughts on writing and publishing. This one was about New Jersey stories. I have one. Maybe I’ll write it this coming week!

Favorite new words added to my vocabulary:

“Metabolizing” all the input, the ideas, and thoughts that you’ve been actively gathering. A time to sit and be quiet. It’s all part of the work. A part that doesn’t look like working but it is.

“Snacky” kind of reads. Those books of shorts stories, poetry, and magazines. Not something you have to spend time preparing for and processing after, a between meals kind of read.

The Minimalists – Emotions from Childhood are Holding You Back

The link here isn’t to the episode. They don’t have it on their website. It’s one of the little ten-minute tastes between full episodes. “You can’t get through life without getting hurt. You just need to know you’ll be ok when you do.” This is what secure attachment teaches us and we learn it early in life. It’s what that toddler is doing when he wanders away from his parent and looks back, or when she looks up to her caregiver when she falls.

Conversations with Coleman – The Pride Generation with Katie Herzog

Blocked and Reported Podcast

This one… I have never heard an episode on this podcast that didn’t help me to see an alternative point of view in ways I had never suspected were out there. This one did not disappoint. I immediately wanted to share it on my Facebook feed, but ultimately decided against it for fear of putting up a “friend” sorter kind of article. You know those, right? The ones where you know most people are going to read the headline and then react in not so nice ways? Ways that make you wonder why you associate with these people in any way.

This one would probably be a bonus. It would piss off my far-left AND my far-right followers. For those of us in the middle, the ones just searching for information and perspective, attempting to live in a fair and kind way to as many people as possible, this podcast is a gold mine.

I’ve linked to Katie Herzog’s podcast as well and added it to my favorites list. I haven’t listened to any episodes yet, but I’ll be trying it out next week.

Well, that’s all there is today. Nearly five hours of podcast time, thanks to the traffic. And every bit of it was good for me. I hope you find something you’d like to explore when you read these. If you do, let me know what you find on your travels. I’d love to hear from you.

Wait…one more thing.

I found a new whiskey and it is delicious. I don’t have the palate or words to describe one whiskey from another but if you like ones like Jameson or Glen Fiddich, you’ll like this. I got it at Total Wine on the way home and when I arrived home, a generous glass was poured while I related my day’s adventures to my husband. Cheers!

I Have a NEW Drive Time Mantra!

That’s right! My impromptu adventures led a new drive time mantra right to my brain. Like lightning…just struck my head.

So…I had this wild idea yesterday.

“I’ll just run down to In-And-Out and have lunch with a friend!”

Doesn’t seem that wild, right? But there are extenuating circumstances. The first of which is that there isn’t such a burger joint in my town. The second being that my friend lives in the next county.

Yeah, those are my kind of people! People that text, “What are you doing?” and when I answer, “Nothing really.”

“Want to go to lunch and visit?”

“Hell, yes!”

I found a place roughly halfway between us and hit the road only to be stopped dead in my tracks when I reached the freeway, thirty minutes into my one-hour drive.

Now, I knew it was President’s Day and that the great return migration of desert campers and off-roaders to Los Angeles and Orange County would be shifted from Sunday to Monday, and I believed I had taken that into account when I checked the map and drive time. But someone miles away had to mess it up and have a bit of an accident after I started my drive and the traffic backed up considerably behind them.

Technology to the rescue!

Every time someone complains about technology, especially smart phones, ruining society, I want to smack them upside the head.

My map app alerted me to the delay. I do wish it would say WHICH lane was closed, but it was better than nothing. I also could see from the screen where the traffic let up. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. With a press of a button, I was able to call and let my friend know approximately how late I was going to be. Stress, relieved.

But there I sat, solidly, waiting for the third cycle of the traffic signal before I could start inching my way onto the freeway. The wind blowing through the pass rocked my car so hard, I was slightly concerned that I might end up a red metal and plastic tumbleweed. I said a quick prayer to the travel gods for the VW bus I passed a few minutes earlier. I have driven this road in the wind in my own VW bus. It was not pleasant.

I’m at the front of the intersection when the light turns green, but there is nowhere for me to go. There are still cars backed up in their own attempt to merge. I wait for a moment to be sure I won’t block the intersection when I hear honking from behind me.

Ok…now I could understand this behavior if I were in a big truck and the car behind me couldn’t see over or around me. Maybe they think I fell asleep or that I was busy on my phone. This time, no. I’m in my mother-in-law’s car, low to the ground and the truck behind me has a clear view of the situation in front of us.

I ignore him and wait another moment. When the traffic ahead moves, I move with it. The angry man behind me, whips around me into the right lane, passes me and promptly stops in that lane two cars ahead. I smile. “Surprise!”

A few minutes later, he and several other people are trying to merge back into the left lane with us, the lane that goes west, the direction all these other poor people are trying to go in. I let a car in ahead of me and keep inching along.

The scene in front of me is familiar. I drive this stretch often. The wind turbines, San Jacinto Mountains, the sand blowing in the high winds of the winter storm that is coming east are all so beautiful. Because I’m stopped here, slowing making my way onto the freeway instead of gaining speed and merging through the slower trucks heading uphill and into the wind like I usually am, I can take a breath and really look at it all.

That’s when I noticed the clouds spilling over the mountain top and gasp. Holy…wow…

I see this happen often. Those mountains are so tall that they block storms coming off the ocean most of the year. That’s part of why our side is a desert. But it’s not every day I can just sit and watch it happen. The clouds tumbled and spilled over the crest and dissipated in the high winds whipping through the rocky passes.

I grabbed my camera and took a picture. Thanks again, technology!

The rest of the drive was typical. People not letting cars merge in, people not understanding that they had to merge, drivers honking at each other. You can feel the tension. One RV pulling a trailer of quads and dirt bikes wouldn’t let me on to the freeway. I shook my head a smiled.

“Man…that’s some bad karma you’re putting out there, dude.”

I waited till he inched past and the got behind him, in front of a nice trucker that probably understands that you let people in so that you get let in. It’s the way of the road. Don’t be a dick.

That’s when my new mantra dawned on me.

drive time mantra
“We’re all going to get there eventually.
Let’s not make the journey suck!”

I want it on a bumper sticker or stenciled across the back of my truck.

It’s not only a great slogan for California traffic and long vacation drives. It works for life in general. Guess where we’re all going? Death. We’ll get there, each and every one of us, in our own time. Traffic might slow us down. There may be accidents, gas stations, and roadside attractions, but we’ll ALL get there.

Why should we make the getting there suck with impatience, anger, and greed? Why not sit back, look around, and take it all in?

That’s exactly what I did yesterday. I was frustrated that my one-hour drive would now take two. Other driver’s impatience bugged me. Inconsiderate people…ugg. Typically, I use being secluded in the safety of my car as an excuse to yell back at them, shake my fist…or worse, maybe assert my own dominance on the road.

This time was different. I took deep breaths, wished those poor drivers well, hoped they didn’t have little kids bouncing off the walls inside, and took a closer look at the beauty of the landscape around me. And when I arrived at my destination, I was relaxed and ready to enjoy my visit.

Today, I’m searching the internet for a way to make bumper stickers. I’ll be rich!

Want to read more drive time thoughts? Click over to True Nature, Driving, and New Podcasts! Man, I spend a lot of time on the road.

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