Driving with Whales

by | Jun 21, 2007 | Archive

If you live in a city or even a crowded suburb, you know how frustrating traffic can be. You stop thinking of destinations in miles but in time. Something is not 30 miles away, it’s an hour away. Of course this measure varies widely depending on the time of day, accidents, road closures, etc. Sometimes 30 miles is 30 – 40 minutes, sometimes it’s 2 hours.

The major part of the frustration of driving is the other drivers. Most people cannot seem to grasp the concept that the roadway is a system and that we must all cooperate for it to work. The more we compete with one another and push our way through to get somewhere, the more it slows everything down. If you tailgate and don’t leave people room to merge, traffic slows to a crawl.

I’m a pretty mellow driver. Mostly, I tune everyone else out and just safely navigate the roads trying to ignore the less considerate folk out there. My husband has a harder time with this. He gets upset when people don’t behave in a civil manner.

He has come up with an odd but brilliant way to overcome this annoyance. While I drove to Angelo & Vinci’s for a birthday dinner last month, he told us how he now envisions the other cars as whales and that he’s in a small submarine. He can’t communicate with whales, they don’t speak the same language so it’s pointless to get angry and try to make them behave. Whales are also unpredictable, so you have to keep an eye on them for sudden movements that don’t make sense. Now, he just smiles at the whales as they pass and thinks, “They don’t understand, they’re just whales.”

I’ve started to incorporate this philosophy into my driving as well. I picture myself driving a puffer fish shaped submarine. I like puffer fish and we drive a small hatchback, so it seemed appropriate. I swim by the other whales and fish, switching ocean currents with them. I pretend I’m incognito in my little puffer sub and that they don’t know I’m human.

How is it working for Dave? Well, he has done really well with not getting upset with the other drivers. When he does slip up, I gently remind him, “It’s just a whale.” He smiles and lets it go.

Updated on:
March 26, 2022