Do you have any instincts that kick in from your youth during moments of high stress?



C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

You know what instincts are. I don’t have to explain them to you, provide a link, or send you on some kind of crazy quest to know what the word ‘instinct’ means, right? I mean, if I do, I have no problem holding your hand and going through all the necessary steps to get you there, but why? After all, Google is free and in your pocket. Use it.

I’m sorry, perhaps I started this particular blog off on the wrong foot. I had a bit of trouble coming into the office this morning. I’m not sure what it is about Dallas traffic, but it rivals some of the best/worst in the country depending on your point of view. I rank it right up there with Los Angeles and Seattle. Still, New York City has us beat by a long shot. If you can drive in New York City, you belong in NASCAR!

Still, there’s a pecking order in Dallas when it comes to traffic. The bigger trucks and more expensive cars do not care about you at all if you’re in a Toyota Tacoma or anything less expensive than what the aggressor is driving. I’m not kidding at all! For reference, look at a pen full of puppies. The larger ones always get to eat first and push the smaller ones out of the way. The runt if you will. That’s how Dallas traffic works. The rich people from the Park Cities will run you over if you’re in a dirty, beat up Rollscanhardly. 

Wait. You’ve never heard of a Rollscanhardly? That’s when you have an old car, barely running, and it rolls down one hill, can hardly get up the next! Hooray for Dad humor!

On top of that, the super large pickup trucks (which have never been on a ranch, never had a speck of dirt on them, and owned by some wannabe cowboy who lives in an uptown high-rise) will do the same to you. Cars are a status symbol in Dallas, and that’s why the city gives less than a damn about our rickety public transit system. I kid you not when I say it’s mostly a mobile homeless shelter. No, I’m not being rude and I’m not kidding. I had a DART police officer tell me that they were instructed not to remove the homeless and panhandlers from the Dallas trains as a way to keep them all contained during the pandemic. Paying customers or not, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office said they didn’t want them filling up their jail. I wish I was making this up.

Anyway, back to traffic. I was driving along Northwest Highway this morning (which actually used to be a highway back in the day rather than a dragstrip and basic multi lane city street) and people were cutting me off left and right. Out of pure instinct, every time they’d do so or every time I’d crazily accelerate to pull past them, my right hand would instinctively come off the steering wheel and onto my gearshift knob on the center console. Ladies and gentlemen, my lovely readers, I haven’t driven a stick shift vehicle (except for some old, beat-up military five-ton trucks) since I was a teenager! Why did I do this?

I believe a lot of it has to do with residual self-image or even traumatic experiences during my most impressionable years. My high school girlfriend taught me how to drive a standard car rather than the typical Texas father and/or grandfather story of back roads and Old Milwaukee beers. Ack! She, sweet, little, misunderstood angel that she was, was quite possible the most traumatic friendship of my entire life! If she was in the passenger seat of my vehicle when I was sixteen years old, I could guarantee it was destined to be no ordinary car ride through the country. 

That is why every swerve and gunning of the engine sent my right hand to the gear shift of the center console in a vehicle with an automatic transmission. My brain still thinks its sixteen years old. 

It’s the same thing with residual self-image. No, this isn’t something you need to go to Google for either. To be quite honest, I didn’t even know what this was until I watched the Matrix back in 1999. Residual self-image is how our mind perceives our physical appearance. If I stop to think about it, my brain tries to convince me that I still look like the photo on my very first driver license. Sixteen, thin as a rail, sporting a mullet that would’ve made Billy Ray Cyrus cry! 

I know that I don’t look like this because I’m constantly surrounded by mirrors! I’m forty-seven years old, fat (but getting much thinner thanks to cycling), and my hair is super short from continuously shaving my head during the pandemic. I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted a complete stranger breathing on me while cutting my hair, so my wife did it for me. Super easy. Barely an inconvenience!

Unfortunately, the rearview mirror on my truck doesn’t believe the reality of my age. That tiny shard of glass is meant for displaying the past. That’s its sole purpose! To it, I’m sixteen years old with windows down on a cool night, my wavy hair flapping in the breeze, blaring Van Halen into the night (Sammy Hagar, of course), and searching for the next adventure. It knows nothing of family, bills, or writing deadlines. That lucky, lucky mirror…

Do you have any instincts that kick in from your youth during moments of high stress? Also, what is YOUR residual self-image? How do you see yourself when you’re not looking into the mirror? Are you your current self or does your mind wander more into youthful times when you had your whole life directly in front of you? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Maybe we can all still be young and pretty together? Start a band? Go to Vegas? Yeah, let’s do that. I’ll drive!

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