Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Traffic Jam...A reptilian response we can all identify with

To get to the grocery store, I have to make a left turn onto a busy street, filled with a combination of motorists doing their own thing regardless of the rules, and jaywalkers crossing willy-nilly, not caring apparently, if they live or die.

I’m not really sure why I thought going to the store on a Saturday afternoon was a good idea. I usually shop on weekday afternoons. I was not prepared for the amount of people I had to sidestep or crawl over. I was not in a bad mood when I left, but I sure was when I came back.

What should have been a 2-minute drive, turned into 5-10 minutes of stopping and gunning the engine to pass people taking an inordinate amount of time to make their next move. Everyone was driving erratically.  You could almost smell the adrenaline. [or maybe it was something else, I don’t know]. It was tough to make rational, well-thought out decisions, because there just wasn’t time.

It was kill or be killed, so to speak.

Amidst my angst, a surprising moment of clarity emerged. This is exactly what it’s like when you are thinking with your reptilian brain.

We live in the modern jungles of panic, hurry, and fret. It is hard to stay clear-headed, to not to get caught up in the frenzy. While we are not foraging for our next meal...actually, I guess I was in this instance...we are foraging for comfort. Anything that gets in the way of those basic comforts should beware.

I came back from the jungle unscathed, thankfully. But it worried me. Many of us, myself included, are making important life decisions under these conditions. Thank goodness I didn’t happen to be at this time, because I was running on automatic. My options for how to deal with these stressors were limited to fighting them or fleeing them [or just freezing].

The other motorists and shoppers were doing all of those, actually. Some were driving their car or their cart aggressively, daring people to get in their way. Some were paralyzed to a standstill, some were just speeding off to get away.

Next time I find myself in a reptilian moment, or just a traffic jam, I will not join the lizards, I need to slow down...think...and breathe through it.

c. 2014 

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