I share this not for a pat on the back, but to point out how attitude is everything. I have found myself slipping in that area and must be mindful – today was a reminder.
Ran out to our local Dollar General (you know, that place where nothing is a dollar) for some bits and bobs because I did not want to go into ‘town’.
I’m in line and to my right it became clear, was a man (with three little ones) having issues at the register.
I hear, “Sorry” a few times and step in.
Me: How short are you? (Because we’ve all been there right?)
Him: Oh, it’s not that – they can’t change a hundred.
Me: I can do that for you. (Because for one day I could after receiving a recompense.)
Him: Thank you so much!
I return to placing my items on the counter and hear him talking to his checkout person.
Them: Sorry about that.
Him: No worries, I had an opportunity to be blessed. Everything happens for a reason.
Wow. An opportunity to be blessed. I’m so stubborn, I don’t allow such opportunities. I DO count my blessings. But, to hear it put that way – just – wow.
He had three very patient, well-behaved kidlets who now didn’t have to be dragged to one of our rural gas stations to get change then return to the shop for their suspended sale.
He wasn’t inconvenienced. He was calm and kind and ushered his little herd out the door with a “Thank you again.”
Now I’ll share a little about the drive to the shop.
I’ve alluded to how rural we are – and how dangerous the highway that splits our town in two is.
Apparently a little more dangerous further you go up the hill according to this sign. Yes, it’s real – yes, I took this pic. (I was a passenger at the time, let’s not dilute my ongoing rant with ‘But you took a pic while driving).
Back to the route at hand,
I mean, you have to be on point! Guessing what the ‘non-locals’ may potentially do. (Unfortunately, locals too.)
There are OH so many crosses up and down the road, the pass and the grade, I’ve memorized most of them. You’d think that would serve as foreshadowing to the drivers that I encounter, sadly they don’t.
So, ‘heading out to the shop’ is not as simple as it might be elsewhere.
If you so much as see a rabbit running across the road in front of you – there must be a thought process.
- Is it running FROM something? Should I expect to break for a coyote?
- Is there a car behind me? (Okay, that should be number 1 probably)
- Can I brake in time to avoid a collision, or do I need a plan b and where may I swerve safely?
We literally have signs.
BIG highway signs lit up asking the driver to take: CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! Watch for animals!
That’s just when encountering a critter.
Then comes the actual road – and bonkers traffic. Timing is everything.
I’ve learned to turn off my ‘give a fuck’ about people behind me at a stop sign. I am NOT going until I am certain I can safely navigate the turn onto the highway.
I’ve been honked at once, and wanted to bolt out of the car and remind them about the crosses. Go ahead, go around me – take your chances, and chances are when you’re hit, I’ll still stop and help you. But, let’s avoid all of that and just chill the heck out!
Back to the animals, says the Queen of Tangents.
I seriously need glasses.
On the way to work Friday I saw someone switch to the left lane for no apparent reason ahead of me.
I squint and think to myself, “Is that a person?” (On the side of the road, not the lane switcher LOL).
Now, I’ve known for a while I need glasses. But when you have a laundry list of things you need, somethings that are important start sliding down that list.
I squint harder … “Is that a bush?”
I squint harder, now practically on TOP of the ‘thing’ – “Oh … a cow.”
A large, uninterested, grass filled mouthed cow. In the ‘bicycle’ lane (I don’t know what it’s technically called out here) of our very dangerous highway.
I would love to tell you there was a great amount of distance between my first guess and my realization, but there was not.
Obviously doesn’t help my commute that I can’t SEE – so I may have to bump that up the list.
But, what I did see today – gratitude and calmness – was enough to open my eyes and return me to a mindset of the same.
Maybe that needs to be on a sign too. Although, some would probably pay as much attention to it as they do the others.
I’ll just keep my eyes on my own paper and try to practice it myself.
Innocently driving home yesterday with my son … when something came from behind us, flew in the open window, smacked against the wind shield and landed in parts unknown.
Yes, I said ‘came from behind’ more on that later.
So we both acknowledged the ‘happening’ and exchanged glances. Then I put my eyes back on the road as Nic looked down.
“There’s something on your leg.”
Rule #1: Don’t ever tell someone driving a car that there is anything foreign and quite possibly alive ON them.
Me: What?!?!?! What’s on me????? What is it???
Nic: I don’t know … it’s a spot … on your leg.
By now, I’m imagining this:
I don’t think that’s too far-fetched considering we DO live in the desert and there are any number of hard-shelled creepy crawlies that could show up on a bare leg.
Okay, so 99% of them don’t FLY, but some sadistic bastard could have tossed it from the side of the road? That would explain why it came from behind us while going 35 MPH.
Back in the car, I’m calmly trying to pull over to investigate what part of nature has violated my personal space.
And why is my son so calm?? Why is he not trying to save me???
On the side of the road, I bravely look down.
“That was already there!” The spot turned out to be a scratch from earlier.
“Yeah, but that might be what flew in …”
I followed his eyes down to the floorboard – right next to my foot.
Got out of the car and grabbed a cloth I have handy in case of such emergencies (mostly it’s for when I spill my coffee while driving.)
My son announced, “It’s still alive – it’s on it’s back.”
I could see this.
I gently (yes, gently, no sarcasm here) collected it in the cloth and walked to a nearby bush to shake the poor little thing off.
It wasn’t coming off.
Now I’m laughing – on the side of the road, shaking a blue cloth.
Bee hung on tight – until it didn’t.
I’m back in the car and we start off home again.
Nic pondered, “How did it come from BEHIND us?? It had to be going faster than us!”
“That’s not hard to believe …” I pondered back – recalling how many things pass me on the road – sloths, snails, limping pedestrians, … parked cars.
“Maybe it was suicide.” Nic concluded.
I sighed … “Bee suicide … that’s sad.”
“Have to remember to get gas.” I told myself this morning. I decided I wouldn’t do it on the way to work, but rather during my lunch hour.
Directly to work I would go.
I’m driving on the highway, which, in our town is 45 miles per hour as it’s pretty much ‘main street’ through several cities.
A desert highway with business and residential areas either side of the road for miles.
With a lot of stop lights.
I’m approaching a stop light when I see something in my lane just after the intersection.
Now, I’m a pretty decent driver. I haven’t had a ticket or accident in 28 years. When I was 16 I got a ticket for ‘inappropriate lane use’ (I should have fought that one – it was appropriate.)
And then there was the time I backed out of my parking spot in my private driveway and forgot my parents were in town.
I ended up hitting my moms parked Durango. No damage to her car, but I’m such a square, that I told on myself to my insurance company anyway.
Bottom line is – I’m cautious, aware, defensive and boring behind the wheel.
So I see this thing in my lane and I’ve gone over every scenario in my head an instant after assessing the traffic around me in each mirror.
‘Can’t drive around it – it’s illegal to change lanes in an intersection’
‘Must be something I can drive OVER because it’s there and I can’t be the first car to come across it’
‘Probably a plastic bag or a piece of cardboard’
The ‘thing’ was bright red – so I don’t know what store such a plastic bag would have come from. (Although, we do have two Adult ‘bookstores’ in town – so …)
I had only seconds to decide what to do and I chose to try straddling it and not switching my present course.
*CRUNNNNCHY DRAGGING NOISES*
This is a millisecond after I am on top of the damn thing and realize what it actually was.
I indicate, pull to the right and crunch my way into a shopping parking lot.
I then IMMEDIATELY turn the car OFF!!!!!!!!
The red thing was this:
So I’m on the side of a busy road – in a long peasant skirt, pink sweater and knee-high boots – and approach the rear of my PT Cruiser.
On my hands and knees I peer under the car to find the ‘debris’.
Gas container was bigger than I thought, and it would not come out. Not only would it not come out, but wouldn’t you know it? It actually had gas in it.
HAD gas in it.
Now most of it was on the ground … and my hands.
I tugged and tugged – it would not give.
I went to the side of the car. Maneuvered my hand underneath and grabbed hold – all the while thinking – I KNOW someone is seeing a woman on the side of the road, dressed nicely, on her hands and knees and NO ONE is stopping.
The thing finally pops out – I place the container in an upright position and pick gravel out of my knees with my gas soaked hands and return to my car.
The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, except for all the jokes I was making in my head.
Stupid jokes like:
‘Well, I did need gas’ and ‘Been a while since I’ve been on my knees’. (My inner joker has a dirty mind – I try to ignore her – but I was inhaling gas fumes at the time.)
I’m retelling this to someone I work with and she says: “I saw that on the side of the road!!!”
“Yeah, well, I’m the one who killed it.”
I have been told I drive like a grandma.
I suppose I do. If the grandma is a patient, calm, highly skilled driver!
But, in 28 years of driving, I have not had a speeding ticket or been involved in an accident while I’ve been driving.
(Okay, if we’re counting the time I backed into my moms Durango the morning after she arrived from out-of-town, then I’ve had one teeny tiny accident. But I was so used to just reversing in the driveway and there not BEING a vehicle there!)
No moving violations on public roads. There. That’s better.
So I get to vent – because I CAN throw a stone. My house is not made of glass when it comes to this topic.
I’m pretty anal about following the law. I border on annoying with my honesty.
I’m the driver that would stop at a stop sign the day after a zombie apocalypse.
(Just one of many reasons why I wouldn’t survive a zombie apocalypse.)
So – the reason I need to vent – is because the following events happen to me on a regular basis:
- impatient attitudes from behind me IN THE SLOW LANE (get in the flipping FAST lane)
- cars pulling out from a street onto the highway in front of me when there is NO one behind me (you couldn’t wait ’til I passed?)
- annoyed people behind me at stop lights for not turning right on the red when the road to the left is not clear (you can’t see what I see, dumbass)
Let’s take these one by one shall we?
I observe these things.
I observe them because I interpret ‘limit’ to mean, the most – the max – the tippy tippy top.
And because I’m also conscientious, I don’t do the speed limit in the left lane – I stay on the right hand side. So, if I’m in the appropriate lane for the appropriate speed, do not get behind me and try to mate with my bumper! Don’t! Just stop it.
I’ve taken to refusing to watch you in my rear view mirror after noticing you tail gating – I do this so that I don’t absorb the negative energy from your hand gestures or foul faces. There is a passing lane available to you. Use it.
PULLING OUT IN FRONT OF ME:
(Yeah … there’s just no way I’m putting that string of words into a search engine … no pic for this one LOL!)
I’ve comforted myself with the following reasoning: Because I’m such a safe driver, my car must be emitting a ‘safe aura’ which other drivers interpret as ‘she’ll stop/let you in/roll on her back in the submissive position’.
And I do.
What drives me bonkers – is when a car in a complete stopped position – pulls out in front of me so that I have to slow down to avoid hitting said car, when there is NO ONE behind me.
Seriously! WAIT! You could have a whole road to yourself. Just let me pass first!
I think at this point, I need to make the following clear: I don’t drive slowly. I seriously just am going the limit. If I was creeping down the road at a snail’s pace, I could understand not wanting to wait for me to pass.
DOING THE ‘WHY AREN’T YOU GOING??’ ANNOYED SHRUG BEHIND ME AT A RED LIGHT:
I believe turning right on a red light is much like a driver’s license … it’s a privilege, not a right. (Okay, it is a ‘right’ but not a RIGHT … wait … forget it.)
You may turn right on a red light IF it is safe to do so and you’re not interfering with traffic that has the green light.
If I’m not GOING, it’s because there are still cars APPROACHING! You can’t see them. You are behind me.
And even if there is a brief moment or two of no cars zooming past – guess what I’m doing?
I’m calculating that even if I DID pull out at that precise moment, I would cause the car that is still approaching in the near distance to have to adjust his speed significantly or change lanes in order not to HIT me!
The part that annoys me the most is that there are people on the road that I see daily.
I really try to be very understanding when someone is an arsehole on the road.
I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I imagine the following: “Maybe they’re late to work and stressed out about that” “Maybe they got into an argument with someone before they left the house and are just not thinking clearly” “Perhaps they just got bad news and are in a hurry to get somewhere”
But – when the same drivers do it regularly – no excuse.
Get up on time. Leave early to give yourself enough time to get to your destination, like I do. And quit being such dicks on the road!
Ooo! And OFF road too! Don’t even get me started on the people who speed through my neighborhood, kicking up rocks and dust with their obnoxious speeding tires. Kids and animals are out and about … slow the hell down.