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Mindful : August 2014
DRIV ING If you ask people about their main social activities, ma ny will tell you they have dinner with friends a couple of times a week. A few might mention salsa class; others may get together to watch the latest episode of Mad Men. But the place we commune with our fellow humans the most is the place we engage with them the least: on the road. Normally, I try to be mindful dur- ing my social encounters. But some- how, when I’m behind the wheel of my ca r—surrounded by people of every imag inable age, race, economic class, and gender—that part of my brain shuts down. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, during most of my drive time, I’m focused on everything but the moment I’m engaged in. TO DISTRACTION Except, of course, if someone cuts me off, wavers from their lane, or makes a left turn without signaling. At that point, 85 million years of primate posturing burst through my ennui. I was brought up short by this phe- nomenon a few months ago, driving my sister to lunch on a busy street in West Palm Beach. We were chatting amiably about the mea ning of “Octopus’s Garden” when the driver ahead of me signaled a right turn, then changed his mind and made a left. I lost it. “Stupid #$*@! idiot!” I howled. “Learn your left from your right!” My sister, a massage therapist, regarded me evenly. “It’s funny,” she remarked. “ You can do almost anything in this world—drop a bottle of cognac → August 2014 mindful 61