7 Reasons To Embrace Christmas Traffic Jams
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a Christmas traffic jam, in the same way as there is no such thing as a Christmas turkey, but you know what I mean. Which is just as well, because if I had used ‘7 Reasons To Embrace The Traffic Jams You Experience While Travelling Somewhere For Christmas’ both of you may have decided not to read. I’m glad you have though, because I have importance to impart on you. If you are travelling this Christmas, this is the most helpful thing you will read this half-hour.
1. In-Laws. If you are very lucky, your in-laws, or – if you are sans wedding-ring – your partner’s family, will be normal. This is fairly uncommon however, so we shall assume that the in-laws are a weird bunch. The mother-in-law smokes a pipe and keeps singing sea shanties and the father-in-law insists on wearing novelty ties and very little else. That type of weird. The type of weird that means you want to spend as little time in their company as possible over Christmas. The type of weird that makes traffic jams seem like a little piece of heaven.*
2. Christmas Playlist. Unless you really are a Scrooge (or deaf), Christmas songs evoke the festive spirit. And no one can tell me that after listening to Wham! and Chris Rea over and over and over and over and over again you’re not going to be in the mood for mulled wine. And beer. And brandy. And anything else that might numb the pain.
3. Excuses. Despite having 364 days to buy your loved one a present, you seem to have forgotten to buy one. This means you need a damn good excuse. And to think of a damn good excuse you need time. And time comes with traffic jams. Lots of them. By the time you get to your destination, your loved one will be too tired and relieved to care about presents. Which gives you time to whip down to B&Q.
4. Traditional Games. What with the advent of Game Boys and Game Gears and PSPs, the traditional in car entertainment was shelved. Mammoth games of ‘i-Spy’ and ‘I Went On My Holidays…’ were swapped for games featuring a hedgehog called Sonic and a footballer who looked like Shrek. Christmas traffic jams are the perfect opportunity to relive those golden days. A chance to remember those simpler times. Times where the use of the brain was more important than the use of the thumbs. Admittedly, i-Spy will only last until someone has guessed BOOORRRIIINNNGGG!!! but, despite someone not quite understanding the joys of the game, it will be fun while it lasts. Honest.
5. Scenery. Ever wanted to see Slough look pretty? Get stuck there in the snow. It’s your only hope.
6. Accents. Have you ever wondered what people sound like in the area you are driving through? No, probably not. That’s because you are driving through them. But what if you are stuck in them? No, probably not. But you should. Because it will open your eyes to the world around you. And you don’t need to do it by winding down the window and freezing to death. Just tune in to the local radio station. If you are lucky they’ll be interviewing someone who thought they had grown a six-foot cucumber only to discover it was in fact a marrow. And that never happens where you live.
7. Challenge. Despite what we are encouraging here, we know no one likes sitting in a traffic jam and, given the opportunity, they will find a way of getting out of it. Which is where the road map comes in handy. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than plotting a way out of a jam and then executing it perfectly. Especially if you set yourself a time limit and pretend you are being chased by members of the KGB. Such circumstances can turn pain and despair into exhilaration and triumph. And is a case in itself for joining a jam if you see one. We’ll see you in there.
*I would just like to point out that I am very lucky. Despite their annoying habit of making me look a very average tennis player, my girlfriend’s parents are a delight.**
**No, I am not just saying this. How cynical of you.