Visualize Whirled Peas
Driving the 350 miles up to my hometown of Buffalo for my nephew’s high school graduation, revealed to me an “aha” moment: people handle driving the way they handle life. Lead, follow or get out of the way! Please.
The Open Road
As I was driving on an open stretch of route 15 in Pennsylvania, a silver Kia sedan sped up as it approached my rearview mirror. As it passed me, I noticed the twenty-something girl behind the wheel, who immediately slowed down once she pulled back into my lane in front of me. As I then pulled out to pass her, she immediately sped up, only to slow down again when I resumed my position behind her. She slowed down. I went to pass. She sped up. I’d pull back in. She’d slow down. This went on for a number of miles, when the “aha” moment hit me. She wanted to lead, but didn’t have the courage to be the leader.
Along the way, the highway was strewn with state troopers pulling people over as they sped by. The twenty-something girl flying by me wanted to be in the lead but didn’t have the courage to be the lead driver. She wouldn’t commit. She wasn’t willing to take the risk of being pulled over for speeding. But she wanted to BE the leader, forcing the other drivers to either drive her speed or pass her. It was an unsafe practice for those following. Speed up. Slow down. Speed up. Slow down. It was an accident waiting to happen. She was not lead driver material. She needed to be following at a safe speed. I’m confident her approach to driving was the same as her approach to life. A young girl be-bopping along, accelerating, de-accelerating, pulling in and passing, trying to find the rhythm of her life.
When it comes to driving and life, I’m a leader but have no problem following—IF I’m behind a confident leader who makes good decisions. If not, get out of the way, ’cause I’ll take over and pass. I don’t have a lot of patience for hesitant leaders or drivers. Commit. Make a decision or move over and let someone else lead.
En route to Buffalo, I encountered fierce thunderstorms with pelting rain and winds. Hail storm like conditions, just shy of hailstones coming down. As a pretty fearless driver, severe winter storms don’t stop me, let alone a little rain. Yet people were driving 25 mph hour on an interstate with their flashers on. People, please. It’s a little rain. Well a lot of rain. Eventually most of the drivers pulled over. Ah, relief. An open road where I could go. I led the drivers, confidently, to salvation, er, sunshine. It just took someone willing to commit and lead. I have no problem stepping up if need be. That’s who I am as I driver and who I am in life.
My partner has an interesting approach to driving and to life. He meanders in both. If there’s a straight line to get from point A to E, he’ll drive from A to D to K to N back to C over to J and eventually he’ll make it to E, his end destination. This is his approach to most things in life. In the meantime, he’s made a lot of stops, said hi to many people and eventually accomplished what he sets out to do. If I’m on a mission and need to get from A to E in record time, and I’m with him, I have to restrain myself from pushing down on his knee to accelerate to 65 mph. It drives me bonkers. But if I’m not on a mission, and willing to meander, it makes for a very pleasant journey. That’s why I think we make good partners—one forces the other to stay on task, the other forces the other to stop and smell the roses.
Although I stay on task, I am an adventurer. I love the journey, the drive, the discovery, the ability to make choices. My brother has a GPS named Lucille. I hate her. No, I will not turn because you told me to. I’ll turn because I choose to. No wait, I WANTED to go to the Ben and Jerry’s. It’s an unscheduled stop, don’t recalculate. Shut up. Stop it. Let me drive. Let me choose. Let me discover their new Mission to Marzipan flavor. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. I don’t want to stay on task I want to stop and smell the roses. But she won’t let me, without giving me a huge headache. Big mouth Lucile shows no restraint. Recently, someone stole her. God Bless them.
Did you know a study recently stated that people with lots of bumper stickers on their cars are aggressive drivers? I find that hilarious, because the cars that I usually see plastered with bumper stickers are Subarus touting world peace.
You’ll be happy to know that I don’t place bumper stickers on my vehicles. But if I were to sport a bumper sticker on my 4×4 F-150 it would simply be, “Visualize whirled peas.”