Being in the working world has given me the ability to appreciate what life is like outside Atlanta. I know people from big northern cities say that the pace is slower in the South, even in Atlanta. But let’s get real – the pace of life is much faster in Atlanta than most places. I grew up in Gwinnett County, and suburban life was all about having enough space to be comfortable. I then went to the University of Georgia in Athens, where the school controls the pace of the town and “industrial” isn’t one of the first 500 adjectives which spring to mind. In short, I’ve lived my life with the ability to get where I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there. Then, I moved to Atlanta and met my first taste of real traffic.
My stint in Athens was filled with complaining and rage over any traffic time at all. Whether it was a five minute logjam for no reason or game day traffic, traffic was always a mood-killer. When I first got to Atlanta, my blood pressure spiked every time I stepped foot in the car for about two weeks. Everywhere I went took an hour of travel. Then, I finally acquiesced to it and now rival a Buddhist monk in patience. Now, I have fun with the traffic system. I have devised many ways to live with a terrible traffic system that allows me to stay interested and not frustrated. These “games” that I play with the traffic system include:
- Trying to be on the roads at the most obscure times of the day. Driving at 4:48am is quite blissful.
- Trying to make a science experiment out of the situation, only without the cool explosions. I try to leave at the same exact time to make sure the factors around traffic are the same no matter what.
- Trying to listen to the same things on the radio every time. This allows me to call in on different contests and feel like I know the DJ’s personally. I’ve already made friends with The Other Guys and the Bert Show gang, only they don’t know it.
- I try to find new and fun things to do by taking different routes in the city. Instead of going around 285, I’ll just start driving and hope I end up at my destination. I’ve gotten to explore some really interesting locales, though my boss isn’t quite as excited about my explorations when I show up at 10am accidentally.
Like I said, Atlanta has made me a better person on the roads. When I am driving around and hit a small patch of traffic, I always have the horribleness of Atlanta to compare it to, so I don’t get mad in the slightest bit. It also has given me a Christmas Vacation attitude about it, “Well, it’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.” We might as well get happy cause we’re are definitely all in misery out there on these roads.