Driving Through Houston

I have found that the older I get, the more my general self-confidence improves.  I don’t think I can do anything, but I find myself getting less anxiety about new situations than I used to.  I went from thinking, “OH GOD, THERE’S NO WAY I CAN DO THIS EVER” to, “Okay, I may fuck this up, but everything is going to be fine in the end.”

I think I have alluded to my past driving anxiety on here before. It used to be bad.  I hated driving at night, would not drive on freeways or highways at night, and would freak out before going to a new place.  This really hindered me when I first moved to the city I live in now, and for a long time I didn’t have a great feel for the city.  My driving confidence improved as I started driving more and putting myself out of my comfort zone, and now it really isn’t a big deal.

Every once in awhile, I find myself in driving situations that would have freaked me out several years ago.  I was returning from a field job today, and our route takes us through Houston.  I’ve never driven in Houston; I’ve driven in some of the suburbs, like Katy, but never in Houston proper.  Back when driving terrified me, I told myself I would never drive in Dallas or Houston. I’ve already driven in Dallas and it was not a big deal.  But driving in Houston just hasn’t happened yet.

My coworker had been planning on having me drive after getting out of Houston, which was fine to me; I didn’t particularly want to drive through it (I don’t think anyone does). But when we were a couple miles east of downtown, she pulled into a gas station and said, “Jen, do you feel okay going through Houston?”  “Yeah,” I said, switching seats with her.

I’m not going to lie; I was a little nervous, just because I know how aggressive and notorious Houston drivers are.  But I also felt a confidence I would not have felt several years ago.  Instead of thinking, “OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” I thought, “Yeah, this is not going to be a big deal.” In fact, I was actually relieved I was going to be able to drive through Houston, just so I can say that I’ve done it.

So I got on I-10. I had a lovely view of downtown:

Don’t worry, I took that picture a couple of years back when I took a charter bus to NASA. I wasn’t snapping photos while driving or anything.

And there was a lovely song playing on Alt Nation while I drove through the city:

And the drive was fine. I will say that switching from 610 to 290 was a bit hairy because no one wants to let you in, and I had to cross like four or five lanes of traffic in thirty seconds, but it wasn’t a big deal.

It’s always nice to have these experiences and think back to when you used to be afraid of moments like these.  What had I been so afraid of?



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