I hate the feeling of being stuck in traffic; the inability to move in the direction of your journey drives me mad. It causes my skin to feel pressure and my body to get antsy. I want to move. I want to move now. Get me out of this line of unknown length and frustration. Send me on my way to my destination with ease and purpose, not distracted by anger and the knowledge that I am literally wasting minutes of my confined life (as well as the yuppie guilt I feel for spewing harmful emissions into the atmosphere).
As I sit at my desk, doing my dutiful job duties, this feeling creeps in. I am stuck, in traffic. I have no place to move. I can’t exit the freeway, I can’t cut over to another lane, I can’t look anywhere but at the bumper in front of me (aka my screen). Even if I pass the bottleneck and make it back to the regular speedlimit I am stunted on my journey. I have missed out on a chance to own my time and spend it how I choose. The same frustration builds. How much of my life must I waste like this? Apparently, as an aggregate total, Americans spent 4.8 billion hours in 2010 stuck in traffic. (Cited here)
I know this is not something that only our generation experiences, but it seems to be that everyone in my life is deeply unsatisfied with the knowledge that they are wasting their life at their job. Previous generations didn’t realize the amount of waste that they had created until further in their career – calling it the mid-life crisis. We are quite possibly the first generation to experience en mass the “quarter-life crisis”. We knew before we even got to college that we were prepping ourselves for a life spent wasting and wading through corporate crap. We had already watched Office Space twenty times and related to it without ever spending our lives in a cubicle.
What do we do now that we have figured out we are wasting ourselves away? Where do we go from here? Free-lancer, self employed, Apple cog, corporate consultant, or waiter, we are more jaded, mal-aligned and cynical about our life’s work. Our life, as we know it, is to be a nouveau blue collar, with blue collar now = white collar. (Ineviatebly making extinct the blue collar and turning it into no collar.)
So, although it’s illegal in many states to text while driving, it does help ease the frustration of being stuck in traffic. It is not however, illegal to text while working, or Facebook while working, or surf Buzzfeed, or shop or research the IMDB history of Fred Savage. If only we could make our careers out of distraction, our life’s work wouldn’t seem so . . . worthless.