This is something that happens to me nearly every time I drive my car, and I don't get it: I just want to win.
What the hell?
Oh, that Audi passed me, but he's going to run into some slow traffic there and I'm going to catch up and what a goof we're going to end up at the same red light together anyway etc etc etc.
It's so weird to have any competitive feelings about driving to the grocery store—especially when it's coupled with a desire to stay within 5 or 10 mph of the speed limit. But I feel it—from my core to my clenched fists. What causes that pressure to feel like there's a race? Why do I need to pass any cars? Why do I want to keep my eyes on the Audi to see how our positions relate to each other, as if there's a green flag and a checkered flag somewhere on Manchester Avenue?
Every time I feel it. And every time I feel the reaction—the self-awareness that the first feeling is idiotic. How does it affect me? What difference does it make where the Audi is? What does it mean to win when there is no race? Where is that Audi? What's the use of getting to the grocery store 15 seconds earlier—if that even happens, because traffic is a discrete problem and I might get to the red light 15 seconds earlier and then get to the grocery store at the same time anyway? Where the hell is that Audi?
The purpose of driving down the street is to get somewhere. Everyone out there is just trying to get somewhere. What would happen if the collective mindset changed from "I'm going to win" to "I'm going to help everyone get where they're going"? I still feel that first urge in my head—the default urge, the primal urge—but the second one, that's better.