Make Room for Joy

by Shelley English

This morning I was driving to work, and approached the exit from one interstate to another.  The exit is two lanes that merge into one. Usually, fellow commuters follow proper etiquette as the right lane merges into the left, forming one line. But occasionally, drivers from the right lane attempt to squeeze in before their turn.  They do this by attempting to pass the car ahead of them, even as their lane dissolves into the left.

As a (perhaps too) defensive driver, I sometimes take it upon myself to “keep them in line” by placing my own car in the middle just enough that they cannot safely go around me.  Of course I’m not proud of this behavior. Getting to work is serious business. We have little time or patience for dawdling drivers, and even less for those who try to cut corners or push through the bottleneck to come out ahead.

As I began my exit, it seemed the car behind me was hanging to the right. Gripping the steering wheel and glancing in my rear view mirror, I expected to see the driver behind me glaring ahead, intent on passing me and cutting the line. To my surprise, she instead appeared to be singing gleefully and enthusiastically. In spite of the rest of us, she was carrying on her own car karaoke party. She appeared to be aware of her surroundings and was not, as it turned out, trying to get ahead. She was simply enjoying her morning commute, not letting a little traffic harsh her groove.

Her mirth was contagious. I immediately felt happy, and found myself smiling and singing along to my own music and “going with the flow”. The rest of my commute – and my day – was so much more enjoyable.

So during the daily commute or any other drudgery, I hope to remember the merriment of my fellow commuter from this morning.  I hope I will remember to make room for joy!