Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Three Secrets To Surviving Miami Traffic

Since March, I have been in an "I'm so over Miami" funk, which has made it hard to finish the several blog posts—on fashion, on travel, on culture, on food—I have half-drafted for this blog. Every day I wake up restless and go to bed restless. I blame it partially on my acute wanderlust and partially on the fact that driving in Miami is hell. Between avoiding reckless drivers, fighting through congestion, and being absolutely and utterly perplexed by our nonsensical transportation network, I have no time or energy left to enjoy the greatness that is our city. Sadly, based on the posts on my Facebook timeline, it sounds like many of us are on the same boat.

These past few weeks I've allowed myself to wallow—mostly in silence, but also on twitter—about my deteriorating relationship with Miami. Enough is enough. Today, like I did when I started this blog, I am choosing to pull myself out of the black hole of negativity and wander down Positivity Lane. And, because we're ride-or-die you and I, I'm bringing you along.

The first step to getting us out of this funk? Surviving Miami traffic. Below are the three secret strategies I employ when all hope is lost. Use these to eject yourself out of misery the next time you're slamming your fists on the steering wheel or letting out a primal scream in the car. (No? No one else does this?) With their help, we're going to make it through this. Have hope.

3. Use your local insider knowledge.
Often, out of convenience or laziness, I make the mistake of putting on my GPS and following it blindly. From time to time, it serves me well. Other times, like today, it takes me across the Brickell Bridge during rush hour. (Damn you, GPS!) Use your local insider knowledge to drive around traffic, through lesser known streets. In my case, the South Miami Avenue bridge or the SW 2nd Ave bridge or any of the residential roads through Little Havana and The Roads linking I-95 to Brickell offered potential, less-stressful alternatives.

2. Keep your brain occupied.
A big percentage of our misery is cooked inside of our brains, which are bored mindlessly in the car thanks to monotonous landscapes—have you ever noticed while driving that South Florida is like a backdrop rotating on a conveyor belt?—and traffic that moves like molasses. There, in the midst of boredomlandia, we find ourselves annoyed at other drivers, anxious to get to our destination, and contemplating why we choose to live in Miami at all. Keep your brain occupied to prevent it from going into that deep, dark rabbit hole with some good old fashioned learning courtesy of a podcast. Here are three podcasts I can't live without.

1. Curate a good soundtrack.
Music gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't hate their fellow drivers. They just don't. So, whether your go-to medium is Pandora, Spotify or iTunes, curate a good soundtrack to keep you company in the car. Today's survival story is brought to you by this playlist of my favorite songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Past trips have been deescalated by this Stiltsville-inspired reggae playlist and by this hodgepodge of music my sisters and I put together for our Joshua Tree trip last summer. It's all about music that I can sing and dance to violently, thereby releasing tension.

What are your secrets to surviving Miami traffic? Leave them below or send me a tweet @thankyoumiamiBuena suerte, amigos! It's a jungle out there.

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