During certain years of my life, I spent many hours in traffic gridlocks in major cities like Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Dallas. My impatience and frustration reached great heights.
Washington, D.C. drove me nuts. One summer rush hour (actually many hours), it dawned on me to pull over at the first exit. I cruised into a Dairy Queen and had a chocolate milkshake while I watched the cars on the freeway inch along. The break was therapeutic, and I still reached my destination.
It took me another 30 years to catch on that this was one way of handling major disagreements I had with friends and colleagues. Often, due to stubbornness or hurt feelings, such disagreements reached a gridlock. We’d inch along, losing our cool and allowing other pleasures to be lost along the way.
Now, in my 70s and still disliking gridlocks, I ask myself each time I reach an impasse with a close friend, Is this the time for me to pull over for a break and have a chocolate milkshake? Often, the gridlock clears before my final slurp.