Tag Archives: Driving

Vroom, Vroom

I'm afraid to try to get that thing in the garage.

Almost exactly a month ago, I got rear-ended on the freeway. I was literally stopped behind traffic, the car behind me stopped and the car behind him made for a double whammy. It turns out that there was actually some damage to my bumper, though I didn’t see it until today when the insurance adjuster showed it to me in bright light. Granted, it didn’t appear to be much, and it seems as though the internal safety parts of my little Mazda 5 are fine. But, since I was already at the car repair shop, and a seemingly small scratch can lead to chipping, flaking and eventual ugliness, I decided to go ahead and get the bumper fixed at the insured’s expense.

Here’s the sort of fun part–the rental car. When I found out that they might not be done before Friday’s carpool, I insisted on a car that could carry me and my charges. The ONLY thing their rental company they work with had was this Jeep Commander. Or whatever it is. It is…big. It’s as big as or bigger than the Ford F-150. And the visibility is worse than other car I have ever driven or owned. I can’t see anything to the right side of me and hardly anything over the top of the farthest back seats. The huge side mirrors only help a bit, and I find that aspect very frustrating.

The only thing is…there’s a certain guilty pleasure in driving such a humongous vehicle. When I switched to my Mazda 5 three years ago, it was primarily to save on gas. Not just the expense of purchasing gas, but the greater expense of simply USING gas. I looked at the Highlander as an option, but the mileage wasn’t any better than the Mazda and it cost nearly twice as much. So, I bought the cheaper, smaller, fuel efficient vehicle that suited my needs. I regularly have six people in the car, and it was really a great option.

The Jeep has a few positives going for it. I feel completely safe in that thing. I mean, it’s so huge that I could probably plow over anything in the road and be just fine. It’s sort of like driving an armored vehicle. It’s amazingly comfortable, too. Both my daughter and I are thinking that it’s sort of cushy and plush in a manly sort of way. Add to that the fact that you don’t hear the asphalt crunching away at sixty miles an hour, and it’s a pretty nice ride.

It’s not, in any way, a car I would choose to purchase. But, I have to admit there’s a tiny part of me that’s enjoying the ride.

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Drive-By Metta

I don’t even pretend to be Buddhist. But, when my friend, Barbara, spoke at church recently she passed on this interesting concept that she’d learned through the folks at the Great Vow Zen monastery. “Drive-by Metta.”

Metta seems to have been defined to varying degrees of intricacy, but it seems to boil down to a meditative practice of some sort. In her talk, Barbara expressed her own version of Metta and put the idea out there that “loving kindness” can be practiced throughout the day and in many situations. I know I’m really over simplifying it here, but the very basic idea stuck with me. When in line at the grocery store, I try to not grumble and count the items in the person’s basket ahead of me. So what if they have twelve items instead of ten? Maybe their day was just a lot worse than mine was, and what good would it do anyone if I said something, really?

Seriously, dude...chill out already.

In my case I think of it as simply “letting it go and not getting caught up in anger when someone does something entirely stupid and dangerous on the road” meditation. It’s a new practice for me, but I’ve needed it a couple of days in a row now. Why is it that someone would travel so close to my bumper, pass me on a curvy dangerous road waving a signal that I wasn’t going the speed limit, just to get on the guy’s bumper ahead of mine? Then, after passing me and tailing the guy ahead of me, the real slow poke I was following at a safe distance, he turned off onto a side road. Less than thirty seconds after the dangerous pass. I don’t get it. I guess I haven’t mastered the concept since I’m still perplexed and even caring about this incident more than twenty-four hours later.

I’m trying to incorporate the “drive-by metta” practice into my driving. When someone else pulled another stupid move today, I said to myself, “Let it go..not my problem…” I can’t even quite remember exactly what it is he did, so I suppose that’s progress.

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