Two Headlights In A Sea Of Black

It happens every time
I drive home from work.
In the dark.
I can’t stop it.
I can’t escape it.
It’s everywhere I look.
Everywhere.

Two headlights
In a sea of black.

I see that.
Over and over.
Endlessly.
Night after night.
And I remember.

That’s the last thing I saw.
Two headlights.
In a sea of black.
Too close.
Moving too quickly.
And I hear my voice.
In my head.
Again and again.
“That ain’t good.”

I remember two crunches.
I heard them.
One deafening, overwhelming.
One quiet.
An aftershock.

And me with eight fractures,
And two days in the hospital.
And I’m still healing.

And every time I come home from work.
Every time.
In the dark.
Always.
Everywhere I look.

Two headlights.
In a sea of black.

I know I’ll adjust.
I know it’ll take time.
I know I’ll be OK.
And I know.
On my trip home.
That’s not going to happen.
I won’t let it.

But I still remember.
And may never forget.

Two headlights.
In a sea of black.

#AtoZ2016 : P Is For Patience

There is one thing in this life
I will never have enough of.
One thing I will run out of
Every day.
One thing I won’t have
When I need it most.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You wish you had more.
So much more.

I need it when I’m listening
To someone who hasn’t got a clue
Try to explain their point of view.
Limited as it is.
Blind as it is.
To me.

I need it when I’m teaching
Someone something new.
Something they don’t know.
They may not understand.
That may scare them.
That’s simple to me.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You could use more,
So much more,
Than you have.

I need it when I’m driving,
To anywhere.
Dealing with the traffic on the roads.
With people being people.
Driving too slow.
Driving too fast.
Running stoplights.
Stopping to turn right.
And, in general,
Driving me nuts.

I need it when there’s something,
Anything, really,
I want to do.
Because sometimes,
I can’t do what I want,
When I want to.
Because I have to work.
Or take care of my home.
Or spend time with her.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You’ll never have enough.
You’ll always need more.

I need it when I read something
Someone wrote.
Something I don’t agree with,
That angers me,
Frustrates me,
Makes me ask,
“How can they be that way?”

Because I know this truth.
And you know it too.
All it takes
Is a little time.
A little perspective.
A little patience.

And everything changes.
The anger fades,
The frustration washes away.
And everything becomes
Okay.

I know this thing I need.
This thing I won’t ever have
In sufficient quantity.

You know this thing too.
And like me,
You won’t ever have enough.

Patience.

God.
Do I need more.


It’s April 20th, and I’m a still one day behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. I expect to catch up on Sunday. Only 10 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

#AtoZ2016 : L Is For Late

I think everybody’s late. Yep. That has to be the case. Everybody’s late. Have you seen how people behave? How they drive? How they rush through the stores? How they watch their watches when they’re on the beach?

Everybody’s late. For something.

I first noticed this at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, as I walked along, and took pictures of everything, daisies, roses, lilies, magnolias, camellias, squirrels, birds, ducks. I took pictures of everything. And while I wandered through the garden, I listened to the music I liked, playing on my MP3 player. I was always there at least two hours, and sometimes over three.

I never had a schedule while I was there. Never thought, “I need to see this, and then this, and then this.” Never thought, “I have to be home by this time.”

You do know, don’t you, I don’t wear a watch. I don’t even own a watch.

As I walked through the garden, I noticed other people walking. And almost all of them were walking for a purpose. Walking to an objective, or a goal. They were running a lap around the garden, or walking a lap, and when the lap ended, they left. They didn’t stop to look at the flowers, or the trees. They marched straight through, until they wound up back at their cars.

It made me sad. Made me feel sorry for them. Because I knew they didn’t see the things I saw. Didn’t see the beauty of the camellia trees in full bloom in January and February. Didn’t see the pinks, whites, or reds of those blooms. They stayed to their paths, and got done with what they were doing. And all the colors, all the blooms, all the beauty of the place, wasn’t on the paths. It was between the trees, hidden from the paved walkways.

They didn’t see the delicate beauty of the roses. Over 1000 rose bushes, and most of them walked through. They looked side to side, saw the colors, but never stopped, never took the time to look, and see the velvety texture of the petals, or the morning dew on them.

Always, they returned to their cars, and left. Right on schedule. Right on time for whatever they had next on their schedules.

They race to work each day, don’t they. I know, I’ve watched them. I’ve seen them wait until the last possible moment, then dash to their cars, many still getting ready for work, drinking their coffee, eating a muffin, or pop-tart, or cereal bar. I’ve watched women in the car behind me, as they put on their makeup, eye-shadow, toner, lipstick, and whatever else they use. Makeup is a mystery to me. I found it interesting to watch. But I also knew, they put it on in the car, because they were late. They didn’t have time to finish at home.

I’ve watched men shave with electric razors, as they drove along the highway, at 65 or more. One hand on the wheel, one on the razor, dragging it all over their face. And I’ve wondered how they get where they’re going without crashing.

Always, they rush. Always, they’re late.

Late for work. Late for church. Late for the opening of the store. Late for breakfast. Late for lunch. Late for dinner. Late getting home. Late, late, late.

Did I mention I don’t have a watch?

In the first year I was in therapy, the receptionist said to me, “You don’t have a watch, do you.”

I held up my wrist, no watch on it, “Nope.”

She sighed, and looked puzzled, and asked, “How come you’re never late?”

The simple answer to her question? Because I always leave on time.

And I wonder, why does everyone rush so much? Why are they in such a hurry? Why do they always look at their watches, and the clocks on their phones, and in their cars?

Why are they always late?

I have a doctor’s appointment in June. I know the time. I know the date. I know I’ll be there with time to spare. I won’t be late. And I won’t have to rush, or hurry, to get there. Just like I never race to get to work, where I’m scheduled to be five times a week. And no one remembers when I was late, or if I ever was. I’m not there on time. I’m there early. Always early.

And so I wonder. Why all the rush? Why all the insanity.

Is everyone late?


It’s April 16th, and I’m a still two days behind on the A to Z Challenge for 2016. Only 14 more letters to write stories for this month.

Please, go explore the A to Z Challenge, and the sites of others who are participating in this adventure.

I Hate Driving

Well.
Here I am again.
Getting in my car.
Going to drive somewhere.

Crap.

I hate driving.

No.
Not really.
Driving’s actually fun.
The driving part of driving,
That is.

The rest of driving
I could easily live without.
Except I can’t avoid it.
‘Cause, you know.
Other people drive.
Which is why I say

I hate driving.

Time to shut the door.
Buckle your ass in the car,
Idiot.
You know damn well why.
One word.
Physics.
Do you have any idea
How many idiots on the road
Drive like physics
Doesn’t exist?

I call it the Animated Cartoon Rule.
Gravity doesn’t work for them
As long as they don’t think about it.
The way people drive,
I think they feel that same way
About physics.

Fucking idiots.

Trouble is,
I have to drive
Among them.
Surrounded by them.

Turn the car on, dummy.
No being late.
Now, put it in reverse,
And before you go anywhere,
Look for other humans
And their cars.

Oh.
Look.
There’s one.
About 3 blocks away.
Think I’ll sit here.
Speed limits 25, I know.
But they’ll do 30 at least.
Every time I’ve tried backing out
When someone’s that far away,
I end up in their way.

Have you ever seen the face
Of someone you backed out
In front of?
That look that says,
“I should fucking run into you.
And then sue you.
I’d fucking win in court.”
Yeah.
That look.

I hate driving.

OK.
The idiot’s moved past me.
Now, look for other idiots.
You know they’re there.
You know how people drive.
Are we clear?
Good.

Back out of the driveway.
Now into first gear.
And away we go.
To the stop sign.
At the corner.

It’s a stop sign.
That means you stop.
Thank God no one’s behind me.
Sometimes I think
I’m the only one
In my entire neighborhood
That actually stops here.
And doesn’t slow down,
Glace both directions,
And then floor it.

Look.
Another car.
Way down there.
Heading this way.
Yep.
I’ll sit here.
Let that one go first.
So I don’t get in their way.

See.
I’ll do 25 at best.
Residential neighborhood.
People walk on the roads.
Rabbits.
Cats.
Dogs.
There’s a reason
There’s road kill on the roads.

Stupid people.
Stupid.
Stupid.
Stupid.

Great.
Someone’s behind me now.
While I wait for traffic to clear.
Yep.
There’s that look again.
The, “What the fuck’s your problem!” look.
Yep.
There he goes.
Trying to push me into the road.
And there’s the other look.
The, “Some people shouldn’t be allowed to drive!” look.
Yep.

Ah.
The car has cleared.
Now, I can go.
Put it in gear, and turn right.
And,
Sure enough.
The dingbat behind me
Never even looked.
Just road my ass
All the way through the corner.

And there’s that other look.
The “You ain’t riding the ass
Of the car in front of you!” look.
Yeah.
I get that all the time.
I’d scream at him,
“It’s a physics thing, you idiot!”
But he wouldn’t understand.

And.
Stoplight.
Red, as usual.
Ah.
Look at the idiot.
Soon as it spreads to 4 lanes,
What’s he do?
Come screaming around me
In the left lane,
Then smacks on his brakes
So he don’t hit the cars
Already stopped for the light.

“Hey, dingbat!
There’s a reason I wasn’t driving stupid!”
You have any idea how many times
I’ve wanted to scream that?

Now, wait for the light to turn green.
Be ready to pop the clutch,
And pour gas
On the ground.
‘Cause the bitch
Behind you
Is going to push you
Into the car in front of you
If you don’t get the fuck
Out of her way.

Green light.
Add gas.
Accelerate.
But I’m not in a hurry.
‘Cause the light ahead
Is red already.
And we’re all gonna stop again.

Yep.
There she goes.
Riding my ass.
Sorry, darlin’!
I’m not in any rush
To reach the back bumpers
Of the cars at the stop light.

And, there she goes
Into the other lane.

And, here I go.
Passing her at the light.
See?
She’s 3 cars behind
Where she would have been.
If she’d just stayed put.
But.
You know.
I wasn’t moving fast enough
For her.
And by the next light,
I’ll be further ahead.

It’s an observed behavior thing.
People are stupid.
Can’t figure out
No one’s going anywhere.
So, they swap lanes
Endlessly.
And tailgate
Endlessly.

God.
I hate driving.

Left turn at the next intersection.
Move over to the left turn lane.
Light’s yellow.
Stop.

And try to ignore the idiot
That just slammed on their brakes
And dumped hot coffee
In their lap.
‘Cause they had to stop,
‘Cause I didn’t run the light.
Like they would have.

Freaking idiots.

Just get me there alive, God.
That’s all I want.
Just get me there alive.
Don’t let one of them kill me,
Just ‘cause I’m on
The same road they’re on.

I hate people.
I really fucking do.
I really fucking do.

The Drive Home

It was a rare day. She let me drive. We rode in my car. By doing so, she learned something about me, and I caught a glimpse of something I feel, although I can’t really explain it yet.

We finished shopping for cat food at BJ’s Warehouse, and headed home. As she expected, I went to the stop light to exit the parking lot and turn left on to Virginia Beach Boulevard. We both knew I’d do that, because I don’t turn left across 8 lanes of traffic. I seldom turn left across a 4 lane road.

What happened next is where things got interesting. I turned right on to Rosemont Road, instead of proceeding down Virginia Beach Boulevard to Lynnhaven Boulevard. So, she asked me why I took Rosemont and not Lynnhaven.

I was able to answer her question. I explained Lynnhaven has 6 to 8 lanes, and lots of big intersections, and lots of cars moving between lanes, and passing through those intersections, while Rosemont only has 4 lanes, and almost all the intersections are with residential streets, and its features limit how much chaos can occur in traffic, and thus limit how hard I have to work to process the driving environment. So, I take Rosemont.

Of course, she would have turned left, off of Rosemont, on to Holland Road. I didn’t. I went straight. Again, for the same reason. Because there are fewer cars on Rosemont at that point, and less major intersections, making it less stressful for me to drive Rosemont, and not Holland.

In effect, I drive a mile or more out-of-the-way to get home, to find a way that works for me.

I share this story because it shows me I am learning about my emotions, about what I feel. I freely admit no one would drive the route I drive because it isn’t the shortest route, or the quickest. It is quite irrational to drive the route I drive to get home from BJ’s. There was a time, just a few years ago, when I would have driven Holland Road, and not Rosemont. When I would have coped with the traffic, and the crazy people in that traffic.

I don’t do that these days, unless I’m pressed for time, or have received a request to drive that path. I work at Best Buy on Independence Boulevard. It’s a straight line South, down Independence Boulevard, which becomes Holland Road, to my neighborhood. There are no turns to make at any intersections.

But that’s not how I drive home. I drive South on Independence. I stay on it when it turns into Holland. But, when I reach the Holland and Rosemont intersection, I turn on to Rosemont, which requires me to drive Rosemont to Dam Neck Boulevard, and then drive East on Dam Neck, until I reach Holland.

Why? Because it works for me. I can drive Holland the entire way, but most nights I don’t. Because I have learned I like to avoid the traffic on Holland Road. I get to avoid the traffic merging from 2 lanes heading south on Holland to 1 lane heading south when it crosses Dam Neck. When I drive Rosemont, I avoid the merging lanes on Holland.

That’s correct. I use the word, “insanity”, because it’s nuts the way people behave when dealing with a merge from two lanes of traffic into one on a road that operates at 135% of its rated capacity. Holland Road is, like many of the main roads in this area, overloaded, with more traffic than it’s supposed to handle.

People go nuts at that merge. Some happily wait in line in the lane that does not go away. Others react as if waiting is something they can’t stand to do, so they get in the lane that goes away, and see how many cars they can get past before they run out of road. I’ve seen more than a few cars fighting for control of the road, driving side-by-side on a two lane road, as the drivers refuse to behave.

By taking Rosemont, I have a right turn on to Holland Road after I yield to oncoming traffic. All I have to deal with is waiting for traffic to clean, so I can make my right turn. I don’t have to battle or negotiate for control of the road with other drivers.

Which is why I drive the roads I drive. It limits the stress I have to endure while driving. It limits the actions all drivers can take. It makes driving a simpler, more controlled process I can deal with more effectively.

It’s not rational. But it is what works for me.

And it’s one of the rare times I have acknowledged anything I feel, and taken what I feel into account in my daily life.

I wonder if I’m supposed to learn more about what I feel, and let what I feel have more influence in the things I do every day.