When I get into trouble, it becomes difficult to know what action to take, especially if I am in a rush. Paradoxically, it is when I am in a compromise, that my choice needs to be decisive and clear. If I am not in a good space, I am apt to be in “an accident.” This is no more clearer than when operating large machinery with lots of souls on board, and a rescue vehicle or ambulance emerges on the scene.
A car tries to overtake on the left, or cuts in front from the right to make a right turn at a congested intersection. This one ideal—to sit back and watch the show, allows us to avoid the odds for a need to “back up” or make an abrupt maneuver that could cause danger or collision.
Meditation or quiet time on a regular basis about our “show” in life, has helped me immensely in knowing that when the time comes, I am ready to make a choice. Experience in driving a Muni bus has given me that intuition that can also arise if we take quiet time before our day opens, and when we retire at night. The patterns of my daily journey on the road become predictable, so when I see something different, or that is out of place, I immediately adjust so as to keep a space cushion around the impending threat. When I was new, I would charge ahead of a taxi picking up or dropping off in the zone, but I have since realized that by pacing myself to the pull-in to the curb, the taxi customer usually alights or departs, and the taxi has room to move away, thus giving me full access to the zone. I also find it easier to find a cab when I am in uniform going home from work!
I now try to avoid blocking any vehicle in the zone by slowing, and see if the extra time cushion works. Nine times out of ten, it does. And then the key was for me to be sparing on the horn. And sure enough, I rarely need to use it. And when I do, I try to keep it to a friendly toot and not a ship to ship foghorn! Blaring does nothing for keeping my serenity, and I usually get a blast back later in the day, as the equation always needs to remain balanced. I would get awful angry horns when my tail end blocked an intersection because I had rushed ahead in to the zone behind another coach. I became aware of the frequency of the angry horn directed at me, and I looked at my part leading up to that situation. I also recalled the last time I gave an angry blast at another vehicle, and the hostile energy seemed to be about the same in intensity and force. So I stopped using the horn and got light on the power pedal. The longer the time passed with me not using the horn, the fewer horns I got. I started applying this invisible karmic ledger to other behaviors I found offensive to me on the road. When shocked about a car cutting me off, or a flyby or drive-by that seemed scary, I tried to recall when I made a similar action not anticipated by pedestrians or motorists. My compromising situations decreased dramatically. The suggestion to sit back and watch the show, started to be a working part of my mind, and I got it.
The hardest part of all of this was to be able to check and scan left-right-left every five to eight seconds, and see what was amiss. Construction delays and lane closures were a biggie in realizing that I had to shift my mode of thinking, and drop speed and allow others behind me to react and have time to make the decision to pass before squeeze-play became too immediate and required sharp turns. I really hate sharp turns in life.