On Saturday I was driving home, coming back from yoga in Medford. I came up to the light at Route 38, and as I approached it, I was faced with the dilemma of what lane to get in (as I always am). Both the left lane and the middle lane went straight, but the left lane also allowed left turns onto 38. There was one car in the left lane already (no signal though), and two in the middle lane, one of which I had been behind most of the way and was rather slow. If I got into the left lane, I might be able to pass that car since it would probably start off really slow. But if the car in the left lane was turning left, then I would probably get stuck there waiting for oncoming traffic to pass before the car in front of me could turn. I picked the left lane, and when the light turned green, the car in front of me sped across the intersection, and the two cars in the middle lane slowly churned into action. I was across the intersection before both of them, no problem.
Fast forward to me coming home from work today. I again came up to a light, with three lanes, all of which go straight through the light, but first the right and then the middle lane go away, coming down to one lane. I usually get in either the left or middle lane, as I hate trying to pass in the right lane, when it's main purpose is to allow people to turn right into the medical facility immediately after the light. And I have to end up in the left lane anyway. Yet, every time I come up to this light, I have to decide which lane is the better one to be in...which has the potential of moving the fastest. And if I choose the wrong one, I get annoyed. And even if I choose the faster one, sometimes there is someone that comes shooting along in that far right lane, past everyone. And I find myself thinking "hey, they were behind me....they aren't supposed to cut in line!"
And then I realize...am I much better? I also try to push it a little...perhaps not as rudely...but I do what I do in the name of speed. So that I can get to my destination just a few seconds faster than I would have if I had chosen the wrong lane. Or, god forbid, I might actually arrive a minute or two later, if I had the misfortune to not get around someone slow.
A minute or two. 120 seconds. 120 SECONDS. What is that really, in the long span of our lives? Why is it so important that we gain those few seconds/minutes? Is that time really that precious? Is there really anything to gain by getting someplace that much faster? Really? 10 seconds? 20 seconds? Heck, 5 whole minutes? And most of the time we are driving a little bit less than safely (dare I say recklessly) to accomplish this. So, gaining 30 seconds is worth the risk we took in trying to slide our way in front a line of cars in the slow lane right before getting off at our exit. Why? Why is it so important? Why does it matter? Everything seems like this. Got to hurry hurry hurry. No time to stop, no time to think, no time to enjoy or care about those around us. When did rushing become so darn important? So much so that even 5 seconds seems worthwhile? Why the rush? WHY?
Here's hoping that I can continue to ask myself this every time I get antsy about what lane to be in, and how quickly I can get around that slow person I see several cars ahead. That I will come to the conclusion that a few seconds really doesn't matter...and that that is all I really am saving.