DISCLAIMER: This is a parody of the Seven Stages of Grief and is not meant to, by any means, downplay or mock people going through actual emotional grief.
1. SHOCK & DENIAL You left on time and yet here you sit at a dead stop in numbed disbelief. You realize that you might still make it to your chosen destination on time if you just get past this jerk that needs twelve football fields of space in front of him. Maybe, just maybe. You may deny reality in order to avoid the pain of the conversation where you have to explain to someone why you were late.
2. PAIN & GUILT As the shock wears off, you start to feel the emerging headache as you try to navigate through multiple lanes of traffic. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you try to arrive within 30 minutes of your required time. You soldier on. You feel pangs of guilt for letting them down.
3. ANGER & BARGAINING Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted honks at someone else because they failed to use a blinker. Please try to control this, as road rage may result. You say, "If you would just get OUT of my effin way..." Bargaining with the other drivers has now begun.
"C'mon people...use your damn BLINKERS!
"You 'effin suck dude"
4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of how late you really are going to be, and it depresses you. You may just remain in this slow ass lane on purpose, reflect on things you did in the last few weeks, and focus on memories of better drives past. Even your favorite playlist is not taking away your feelings of despair. You might as well play Sinead O'Conner "Nothing Compares 2 You" on repeat because there is no way out of this mess, none.
You belt out " It's been seven hours and fifteen days....". You may start to cry a little.
5. THE UPWARD TURN As you start to adjust to life in your slow ass lane, your life becomes a little calmer. Your "depression" begins to lift slightly as you suddenly realized many of your coworkers or friends are likely stuck in this same traffic melee. Perhaps there will be safety in numbers here. You can only hope.
6. WORKING THROUGH IT As you become more rational, you will find yourself Googling or Wazing for a better route to your destination. You even find a better way around that tractor trailer that has been dogging you since three exits ago [you still passive aggressively give that guy a middle finger as you pass by him]. Subsequently, you have started to work on a practical plan [excuse] to best explain your lateness in a positive upbeat manner. You got this.
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE During this, the last of "The Seven Stages of Grief: Traffic Edition", you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. You're going to be late. It's okay though. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. You just know it is just reality. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced on this route, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this day. But you will find a way forward. Literally.
You have arrived to your destination, now 90 whole 'effin minutes later than planned. Nonetheless, you have arrived.
Safe travels everyone this holiday season! Oh, and USE YOUR DAMN BLINKERS!