By Steve Rodriguez
The words “heavy traffic” and “Mission Valley” are too frequently used in the same sentence. Our great community has its many advantages, but the number of cars that travel through Mission Valley produces major burdens for its citizens — rush-hour delays, stressful driving conditions, congested parking lots, and the most dangerous burden of all: road rage.
Think back on your own personal experiences with Mission Valley road rage — those encounters with rude drivers who carry out or provoke the yelling of obscenities and other forms of taunting across lanes. The build-up of stress, aggravated by bad driving and rude manners, can lead to a dangerous escalation of emotion in these situations. Fortunately, common sense usually kicks in to de-escalate matters before any violence occurs.
Since traffic isn’t expected to get any easier in the near future, however, I suggest Mission Valley residents resolve this year to take active measures that will greatly minimize the possibility of road rage. I contend we can combat road rage, while at the same time pursue some of the great things that Mission Valley has to offer, by committing to the following community-related New Year’s resolutions:
1. Take the initiative to de-escalate potential road rage situations: The next time someone cuts you off while driving down Friars Road, or fails to let you merge on to Friars Road while getting off the state Route 163 off-ramp, or ignores the red turn signal at the Friars Road entrance to the Fashion Valley all, don’t get mad! Don’t retaliate! Instead, take a deep breath and mouth the following chant 10 times: “Stay Mission Valley cool.” This will help you to attain the serenity required for avoiding road rage. Add the word “dude” to the front/end of this mantra to reach a level of stoner-like serenity capable of rivaling Ocean Beach’s laid-back vibe.
2. Attend a University of San Diego basketball game. The Toreros have a very good team this year. They’ve beaten some big-time Pac-12 foes, not to mention their Montezuma Mesa cross-town rivals. The team is exciting to watch, and the Jenny Craig Pavilion is a great place to take in a game. Before or after the game, stand along the rim of the campus and take in the magnificent views of the ocean or Tecolote Canyon. Any lingering tension caused by road rage-related stress will soon evaporate into the ether.
3. Foster/adopt a kitten from the San Diego Humane Society. The Kitten Nursery at the SD Humane Society is a great success story — a model for other shelters throughout the country. In support of the shelter’s no-kill policy, the nursery takes in thousands of kittens each year, providing neo-natal kittens with 24 hour-a-day care. Kittens are cared for until they are eight weeks old, and then spayed/neutered prior to being made available for adoption. Volunteers (after receiving training) can support the Kitten Nursery effort by fostering kittens in their own homes, helping to socialize them for eventual adoption. Face it, it’s hard to stay stressed after interacting with a kitten. If you are looking for something more permanent, head down to the SD Humane Society building on Gaines Street and adopt one or two kittens (or one of the often-overlooked older cats).
4. Get your workout in: Numerous references on the internet claim at least 30 minutes of walking each day reduces the risk of heart disease. Accomplish this 30-minute goal by taking your walk along Friars Road between Ulric (at the east end of the Fashion Valley Mall) and Napa (near the YMCA), or walk along the Riverwalk (begin near Hazard Center and proceed east). Both of these routes provide comfortable, level surface opportunities to log in your 30 minutes. And let’s not forget that a brisk walk along these scenic routes will work wonders for reducing your stress.
Remember, stay Mission Valley cool this year!
—Steve Rodriguez is a humorist and Mission Valley resident.