Work is done. You jump into your car - your safe haven - and pull out of the lot. You're bouncing along to a smooth tune when suddenly the cars in front of you light up into a sea of red. Brake lights.
Now you have a choice to make: Get stressed or relax.
Here are the top ten ways to get stressed.
10) Drink More Caffeine
“The powers of a man's mind are directly proportioned to the quantity of coffee he drinks.” — Sir James Mackintosh
We all know that caffeine gives your alertness level a little pep talk. But if a little is good, more should be better right?
Just think how fast your reflexes will be. Your eyes will catch everything. Actually, your hands will be shaking and your eyes will be twitching while your heart pounds out the rhythm to a thrasher song. That eye twitch? It's nothing. Quick... change lanes!
9) Crank Up The Dubstep
“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.” — Nadezhda Mandelstam
Yeah, crank it up! This is your jam! You know the styleâ€¦the driving bass beat paired with techno dance sounds that make your ears bleed.
The next song? Oh wait that's the same song. Wait, it's not. Who can tell? Just crank it up and jam. Oomph... oomph... oomph!
The beat is so fast it makes you want to slam your foot down and tear up the next 5 feet of pavement before traffic halts again. If, by odd chance, you like dubstep, you can substitute Bette Midler.
8) Bring a Cat - Without a Carrier
“Cat hate reflects an ugly, stupid, loutish, bigoted spirit.” — William Burroughs
Everyone loves a cat, right? They're soft, cuddly and they freak out at the slightest change in their environment.
Pop one in the back seat and you're in for a fuzzy world of excitement on the road. You can't cheat and grab Mistress Mittens, your grandma's lap cat. Go get that one that hangs around the dumpster at work and make a new friend.
Rabies shots aren't that bad. Really.
7) Blinkers? Fuggetaboutit
“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” — George Carlin
Changing lanes and quick turns are just not as fun when you tell people your intentions. Give the blinker a rest on this commute and imagine you are a ninja slicing your way through traffic. The other cars don’t need to know where you’re going.
You’re a ninja! They can’t even sense your presence. That guy making the hand gesture out of his window is probably trying to communicate with someone else.
6) Three Words: Jumbo Big Gulp
“Okay. We're young, rich and full of sugar. What do we do?” — Bart Simpson
Oh yeah. You know the one. 64 ounces of fizzy joy sucked through a straw the size of a fishing pole. Thanks to the backed up traffic on your commute, you’ll have that puppy done by the time you’re five miles from work.
Now, pop in your “Stormy Dayz” soundtrack with CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night,” and TLC harmonizing to “Waterfalls.” That’s right. Think about it. Home is only an hour away.
Bonus – that tankard will never fit in your cup holder so you’ll have to hold it in your lap, right by your face, the whole time.
5) Turn Off The A/C
“Tough times never last, but tough people do” — Robert Schuller
Air conditioning is for wussies. Come on. Did you work hard today? Sure. Did your car sit out in a black-top parking lot like a tin can roasting in the sun? You bet. Now, it’s nice and toasty for you. By the time you start pumping the brakes for the bumper to bumper you’ll have a nice sweat going. Feel that one bead running down your back? You know where that’s going, right?
For extra credit, toss on that wool sweater your mom gave your for Christmas before starting out. Summer only, wimp.
4) Play “What’s That Smell?”
“In the land of the skunks, he who has half a nose is king.” — Chris Farley
For this one, you either need a diabolical buddy to hide some sort of food item in your car just as you get to work or just forget to take the trash out. You may notice the trace odors as you approach your ride. Open that door and you’ll get slapped with a waft of horror. Get in, buddy. As you white knuckle it on your route your job is to guess the food item that is curling your nose hairs.
Eggs in the glove box? No, that’s too easy.
Some sort of meat under the seat? Could be.
Oh, has a baby been in your car - maybe its a nice warm bottle!
My money is on a slab of catfish tucked in a seat pocket. Are you home yet?
3) Use The Horn
“Unwanted honking not only irritates others, but may also end up causing accidents. Drivers lose cool and it may result in road rage.” — Rahul Dravid
Liberally. Sure, your dad said that the horn was only for emergencies, but traffic jams suck! Honk at the guy in front of you and let him know your displeasure. That lady with the hat? Honk at her too. Your dinner is getting cold and your feet hurt from wearing those stupid shoes and it’s everyone else’s fault. Let ‘em have it!
Bonus: Bring a metronome and work on your rhythm.
2) One Hyphenated Word: Tex-Mex
“No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach.” — William Cowper
Feeling patriotic? Good. Instead of having a salad for lunch, why not try that Tex-Mex place nearby with the boarded window and the hobo out front?
A burrito with extra beans is just what your G.I. doctor ordered. Let that percolate all afternoon, get into your nice hot car and take to the road. You're full, free and... oh, now you feel it. Then you hear the rumble in your stomach... or was that lower?
Now every red light on your way home is just a little more exciting.
1) Bump Drafting
“Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.” — Laurence J. Peter
It works for Dale Earnhardt Jr., right? Just sneak up to that car in front of you, give them a light tap and ride your way to better gas mileage. They won’t even notice, I promise. Unless it’s the cops. They’re not NASCAR fans and may see it differently.
Relax. You can always get an auto insurance quote to compare, even if you're in traffic.