March 1, 2010

Driving and misanthropy

It is difficult for me to resist indulging my own neuroses at the expense of others. This disagreeable trait typically manifests in complaining. It's insensitive and almost always counterproductive. I can't help myself - like Larry David minus the funny.

Highway driving gets to me. When I'm alone in the car I consider my campy over-reactions to incidence of idiocy as schtick, but this is not exactly the case. My compulsive criticism can border on paranoid delusion, especially when it pertains to other drivers not doing what I wish they would, irrespective of reasonable expectations. What is at best a quirk when solo becomes a full-blown flaw when there's other people in the car. How can I not share my feelings when there's an oblivious slow-going dunce causing trouble in the left lane?

I missed a turnpike exit recently, and facing an 18-mile exitless stretch pretty much capsized me. The situation was no one's fault but my own, and though it's not unreasonable to expect more from myself, I just can't easily let that stuff go. But I should, especially when there's someone else present - sensitive to irascible moodiness.

What could be more conducive to misanthropy than self-criticism? The tendency to some degree of dislike or mistrust of humankind may occur from failures in two areas from above: reasonable expectations and letting go. My selectively high standards are bruised every time someone changes lanes without signaling, and I have the habit of stockpiling negativity from these moments, disproportionately weighting it when passing large-scale judgement. And ventilating angst to the effect of alienating other folks? Forget about it.

I might print out a little reminder to post on my steering wheel, and try to be more loving of all the jackasses on the road.