At my last house, my commute to work took 12-15 minutes every day. Now, my morning commute is about 20 minutes on a good day (with some minor speeding involved) and up to an hour and 20 minutes on a bad day. While I know plenty of people who have it worse than that, it does mean that most days I spend a least some time just sitting in traffic. Those are the moments when I feel like the guy in the movie Office Space who sat in traffic and watched an elderly man with a walker pass him on the sidewalk. It's frustrating, wasteful and an extreme test of patience.
However, I recently was forced to think about my disdain for the slow lane from a book I'm reading. The Life You've Always Wanted is about practicing spiritual disciplines, and in it I was reading about the importance of an unhurried life. Let's just say I couldn't relate very well to the unhurried life, which was not a good thing. In looking at suggestions for the hurry-sick, the chapter talked about the practice of "slowing," described as "cultivating patience by deliberately choosing to place ourselves in positions where we simply have to wait." Say what? No thank you. Then, the very first illustration instructed this: "Over the next month deliberately drive in the slow lane on the expressway. It may be that not swerving from lane to lane will cause you to arrive five minutes or so later than you usually would. But you will find that you don't get nearly so angry at other drivers."
Well, I admit I haven't made a month-long committment to this, but on numerous occasions it has come to my mind (usually right when I'm about to scream at another driver), and it has caused me on at least a few occasions to pause, relax and simply sing along with some good music rather than yelling in my car for no one but me to hear. I guess that's progress.
Of course, if you're like me the "slow lane" pretty much follows my car around anyway (ala the Office Space clip mentioned above), which might be another reason to make the most of my car time with a little music and reflection rather than the sound of my honking horn. I think in some small way it actually may help me to add an ounce of patience to my life.