It’s that time of the year- Thanksgiving is over, we’ve had our first snowfall, and every house on the Upper East Side is competing for who can waste the most electricity on Christmas lights.
The holidays are a unique time of year. You see family members that you forget about for the other 364 days, there’s an entire genre of music dedicated to one month of the year, and it seems like everybody and their mother is spending the entire time at shopping centers. Or at least driving to get there.
The one thing I love about Rhode Island is its consistency. Every beach day is the same, no glass of coffee milk is better than the other, everyone sucks at driving, people are almost always angry behind the wheels, and they seem to always get worse once people start making Christmas lists.
I live in the Garden City area, so I get the pleasure of a first-hand experience of holiday drivers every year. But it wasn’t until this year that I sat myself down and thought about the underlying reasons for the lack of driving skills across the entire community during the month of December.
The first one is obvious, the weather. While it was just 60 degrees on Dec. 1, the formation of ice and snow immediately results in several drivers completely forgetting how to operate a vehicle.
Aside from this, there are an increased number of drivers on the road during the holiday season, which causes an increased probability for car accidents (rocket science, I know). Mix that in with a large number of out-of-staters traveling and the reputation of Rhode Island drivers during the other 11 months of the year, and there’s an immediate recipe for disaster. Or road rage- without the R’s of course.
My last hypothesis is actually kind of deep. A hot take, perhaps. People, despite what they might tell you, hate the holidays. Everybody. I have never met a single adult that avoids stress during December. In fact, I’d bet any money that the holiday season is the most stressful time of year for the average American. Between the copious amounts of money being spent on extended family, to the tangled Christmas lights, to the cooking and cleaning and planning and worrying about getting the right gift- people are tense. Nobody has time for traffic jams, and nobody wants to let anyone merge either, apparently. All this boils over to sloppy driving and disregards for safety, and more car accidents. And more road rage.
So while you’re jingling bells, and decking halls and drinking eggnog, remember why we celebrate the holidays- family. And what it would be like to have a seat missing at the dinner table. No Christmas gift, or clearance sale, or a-hole on the interstate is more important than that. Stay safe on the roads this holiday season.
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