HeartNote, February 11, 2019: Traffic Calming

Two months ago my wife, her two children and I landed in Ireland after a twelve hour flight to fatigue and a distinct time change. It was 6:00 am Ireland time but it was time to be unconscious by my clock.

Suffice it to say, I was sleepy.

We then had to wait ten hours before we could get into our hotel.

This meant renting a car and driving on the left side of the road with the lanes on every street as wide as a five year old's forearm, while driving in the dark. The sun comes up about 8:30 in Ireland. Charming.

After driving for about three hours, sacrificing one hubcap and the passenger's side mirror, I ran into traffic. Irish traffic is comparably bad and just as busy as any city over her However, when you factor in the roundabouts, those semi-circles of hell that can jettison your car into assorted sheep fields, cow pastures and roads to absolutely nowhere, traffic in the part of the world a form of slow torture.

As I'm finding my way to our destination and losing my mind completely, a large electric sign with yellow letters were glowing with the following message: "Traffic Calming." Such a gentle reminder on this big sign in the clouded din of an Ireland highway.

When my eyes caught those words, I could feel my foot ease off the gas pedal, my back recede into the seat, and my hands loosen their grip around the steering wheel.

I put those words where I can see them every day. Not so that I can be a better driver, rather so I can be a better person.

In my profession, "traffic" doesn't confine itself to the clamor on the highways. It's the traffic between our ears that needs to slow down a little.

And when you put the words "traffic" and "calming" together, it sounds like an affirmation of peace, reminding the world within your mind to slow just a little.

I love this term. I now use it as a reminder to keep my head a little less busy and to slow and steady my focus.

Try putting those words where you can see them. Take one deep breath and whisper "Traffic Calming." It helps keep you focused on just what's in front of you.

And try to avoid roundabouts. I'm pretty sure they don't help much with anything.


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