Thursday, May 8, 2014

Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road

A scary thought, don’t you think?  Hadn’t ever done that before, until . . .

This past Tuesday, I watched Emily play soccer for the high school team.  Tough game.  Two overtimes.  The other team scored at the very end of the second overtime.  Sad.  Hard fought.  A tough way to lose.

Kim had to drive from supervising a track meet at her school, so she had one car and I had the other, and after the game, Emily chose to ride home with Kim.  I was thinking about how hard the kids had played and what a tough loss it was.  Lots of things running through my mind and absolutely none of it about driving home.

The major road that leads me to our house is under construction and it’s a hassle for everyone driving on it.  I approached an intersection and noticed that my green light had just turned from yellow to red.  So, instead of going straight as I had planned, I decided to make a right turn, which is usually no big deal.

Because the road is under construction, I looked for the big orange barrels that are used to designate lanes and turns.  I didn’t see them.  I swear they were there in the morning when I drove that way to work, but they weren’t there later that evening.

It was dark.  There isn’t much light on that road at night anyway, but it seemed darker to me.  Perhaps it was just my imagination.  And as I said, no orange barrels that I had expected, except the ones on the other side of the boulevard.

So I made what I thought was a correct right hand turn at the orange barrel, only to find out that I was Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road. 

I had no way to cross back to the other side because the median was all torn up due to construction.  There was no place to turn off for at least a quarter mile, maybe a little longer.  None.  Nowhere.

I began to panic.  I worried.  Traffic was heading towards me.  I really didn’t know what to do except to keep driving until I had an opportunity to get off the road.  But that quarter mile or so sure seemed like a long way to go.

The few cars that I did encounter didn’t beep their horns at me.  No one hung their heads out of the window to yell or gesture at me.  None of the cars came at me head on.  But instead, each driver slowed down, moved over, and allowed me to continue on my wayward journey.

Finally, in what seemed like a lifetime or three, I was able to pull off and travel through a parking lot to get to the road . . . my road . . . and my correct side of the road. 

When people say or write that they breathed a sigh of relief, well, I know exactly what they mean.  I was shaking.  I had been hunched over the steering wheel, holding onto it in a death grip, and I could finally, finally, relax.

There are times when we . . . you and I . . . Drive On The Wrong Side Of The Road.  We don’t mean to.  It’s accidental.  We certainly don’t intend to.  We think we’re doing the right thing- at least in our own mind we think so- we think we’re doing the right thing, only to find that we’re traveling against traffic, against the way it’s supposed to go, against what everyone else is doing.  I guess sometimes that’s okay, but not in a car, usually not in life, but every now and then, I guess it’s okay.

But when we find ourselves Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road, we panic.  We don’t think straight.  We don’t think correctly.  We run out of options, and sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be any options.  It’s dark and we’re alone, and we grip the steering wheel . . . our thoughts, our lives . . . in a death grip and hope and pray it comes out okay.  And perhaps, we don’t necessarily find other drivers willing to slow down and move over.  Perhaps, we don’t find other drivers who let us pass without incident, but instead, yell and scream and shake a fist.  As if we really don’t know we’re Driving On The Wrong Side Of The Road.  I mean, really, who doesn’t know something like that?

I guess the best thing to do is go slowly, watch carefully, try not to panic (at least too much), and when one can, get off that road in order to find the correct one.  The best thing to do is to regroup, rethink, to calm down, and approach the road . . . life . . . our way of thinking . . . a little differently.  Maybe begin again.  Maybe start over.  Nothing wrong with beginning again.  Nothing wrong with starting over.  It happens all the time, to even the best and the brightest among us.  Happens to both you and to me.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe