#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.

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Panic

I sat in the driver’s seat of my car, my left hand locked on the steering wheel, my right locked on the gear shift lever. My eyes raced between the cars in front of me, those beside me, those behind me. I checked my mirrors continuously. I looked over my shoulder to check my blind spots, though I’d carefully adjusted the mirrors to see what was in them.

I drove. In an endless sea of cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, commercial trucks, and giant semis. In the pouring rain. I watched my lights shine on the back of the vehicle in front of me. I had no idea how much I was breathing. No idea what my pulse rate was, what my blood pressure was.

Three fingers on my left hand were numb, and they tingled. My palm felt like I was hammering nails through it. My right wrist ached. My thumb felt like I was stapling it to the lever. My head ached. My knees ached.

There was nothing I could do. Except survive. Except get where I was going alive. I maintained my death grips on the shifter and steering wheel. I didn’t care if my arms went numb from elbows to fingertips. I wasn’t letting go. You’d have to pry those things from my cold dead hands. I could see that, me dying in a car crash, and them having to cut me from the car. “He was still holding on to the steering wheel and gear shift.”

I thanked God for loud music. At least I couldn’t hear the noise of the ocean of cars that surrounded me. I found myself wishing the car behind me would give up, change lanes, and get around me, so I didn’t have to worry about being in its way anymore. I didn’t care if another one took its place. I’d deal with the next one when that happened. When it changed lanes, I took a quick breath, “Yes!”

Then the car behind it insisted on riding my ass. In the pouring rain. I knew there was no way it could stop if I had to slam on my breaks. It would plow into me without slowing down. Another Jeep, of course. “God, I hate Jeeps!”

I blinked a few times, quickly. My eyes felt better. I knew not to close them for more than a heartbeat at a time. I closed them, and I’d miss something. And that would be the end of the story.

“How long is it to the exit?” I prayed for a road sign. Any road sign. There, “Exit 258 B-A”! That meant I only had 3 miles left, then I could get off the damned freeway. I waited, my hands locked on the wheel and shifter. Hell, I don’t think I breathed for during that 3 miles.

As I exited the freeway, had to deal with the next problem. Merging into traffic on the road. I never knew what to do. Stop and wait for an opening? Floor it, and push my way in? Drive down the friggin’ sidewalk until I got an opening? Pray someone would be polite for once, and let me in?

Of course, once in, it was the normal race from stop light to stop light, trying not to get run over by the cars behind me, as cars cut me off to get where they wanted to go. If anything, my death grip on the wheel and shifter became tighter. My elbows started to ache, so did my right shoulder.

“Hope I don’t crack another tooth.” At least my jaw didn’t ache. Yet.

After a million lights, watching a million cars zigzagging between lanes, slamming on breaks and cutting each other off, and wondering if I was going to survive the trip to pick her up, I finally reached the parking lot where she worked.

I turned off the car. Put it in park. And sat there. Exhausted. Mentally, physically, and emotionally. Exhausted. And the thought of driving home after she got to the car was terrifying.

I sat there, resting my head on the wheel. “Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.”

I knew it was too late. I already had. And it wasn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.


It’s April 19th, and I’m finally catching up in the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the 16th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. This one’s for the letter P. Monday brings the letter Q. I have no idea what I’ll write for that.

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.

#ThursThreads #69 : You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

The traffic was stopped. It was a traffic jam. “Damn!” I was going to be late. Very late. I grabbed my cell, called work, let them know. And I sat in my car, surrounded by hundreds of other people sitting in their cars. All of us, waiting. A couple of people got out of their cars, standing by them, craning their necks, trying to see what the problem was, why we were all stopped. We were far enough back it was useless for them to try.

We sat there. Not moving. Five minutes. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty. “You have got to be kidding me,” I thought, shaking my head. “Nothing? In twenty minutes?” At the thirty minute mark, I turned on the radio to see if there was any traffic news.

“Police are reporting a major sinkhole formed in the intersection of Flank Road and Thomas Boulevard, swallowing 12 cars, the traffic lights, and the entire intersection. They are advising everyone to avoid the area.”

A sinkhole? “You have got to be kidding me. This only happens in, like, Florida!”

The cars in the distance started to vanish. Then the closer ones. “Finally!” I thought. Then the cars closer started to vanish as the ground beneath them disappeared. “You have got to be kidding me!” I screamed, as the ground beneath my car vanished, and I fell into the sinkhole from hell.

231 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 69. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.