Paved With Irony

She merged onto the Interstate to save herself.

The grooves in the road met the treads in the tires with a measured thump-thump, in a cadence so perfect that her heart used it as a metronome to keep pace.

The purr of her car’s engine spoke to the buzzing in her mind and calmed it to a gentle hum.

The exhaust system emitted a throaty growl as the tailpipe exhaled sweet fumes. In a normal response she would have inhaled deeply to saturate her brain cells with the life-robbing gas. Tonight, she allowed her lungs steady and mindful breaths.

Her thoughts wandered, but her peripheral vision remained sharp, most notably with the lines and the signs.

The dashed lane markers blurred into a line that reminded her to stay in the center. The signs sent their own messages.

Orange signs meant construction and a SNAFU in traffic matters ahead. She paid them little heed as hers was the only car on the road.

Green signs meant that a street was approaching at a certain point. When the point was reached, an arrow demanded that the driver exit.

Blue signs politely invited the motorist to do the same, with promises of fuel, food, and rest.

She ignored all. She was relaxed and thought about the crippling anxiety she felt just an hour ago and how she wanted to end it. Now, she felt a calm and peace. She knew all would be okay. She closed her eyes for a moment. As she opened them, she caught a sign that read, “Right Lane, 1.5 Miles.”

Her mind tried to piece it together. Right lane closed in 1.5 miles? She was in the center lane. Her thoughts wandered again. During Driver Education, her instructor warned her about highway hypnosis. She always thought that the concept was absurd. Tonight she realized it could happen.

Her mind came back to “The Present.” She saw that she missed the orange and white exit sign in the right lane. Straight ahead, she saw the sign that read, “Bridge Out.”

Earlier she merged onto the Interstate to save herself.

She smiled at her final thought.

“Oh, the irony.”

rip that bandaid off

There have been several key moments in my life when I realized a change was needed.  Once that determination had been made, rather than make the change incrementally so it would hurt less, like slowly removing a bandaid, I made the decision and put it into action all at once.    The pain may have been more intense initially, like ripping off a bandaid, but it helped the healing begin quicker.

You want an example to give my claim merit? 

You aren’t just going to take my word for it?

Hmm…  I’m not ready to share most of those stories.  Eventually I hope to talk about all of them on here, but that day is not today.  (Tomorrow isn’t looking good either.)

…  I met someone on the first day of college.  She was unlike anyone I had met before and I was captivated by her.  I courted her (yes, I just used “courted” – get over it) for all of freshman year and she eventually agreed to date me the summer before sophomore year.  We dated exclusively for the following three years until our Senior year I proposed to her, and she said yes.  We didn’t set a date and weren’t in any sort of rush to do so because we knew we were still young and had plenty of time to plan things out depending on where life took us after graduation. 

After walking across the stage and receiving our diplomas we both found work locally and entered the real world.  Our dynamic changed…  and it changed very quickly.  Who we were in college, as students, was not who we were growing into as contributing members of society, as adults.  I could see us heading in opposite directions.  I could sense both of our needs to pull away and so, before Thanksgiving, less than five months after graduating I called an end to our engagement and an end to our relationship.  The decision was made and acted upon within 24 hours.

It hurt, but it was the right thing to do.  If we had dragged it out it would have only ended up hurting us, and those around us, more in the long run. 

I spiraled for awhile, trying to find some happiness (and occasionally looking for it in the wrong places) and eventually I forced myself to stop, tune out everything else and determine what I wanted out of life – the two or so key things that I needed to be happy.  Once I shut everything else out the answer came to me quite easily… but that is also a story for a different day.

I met the silly, crazy, wonderful woman who would eventually be my wife some 2 years later.   The friend of the sister of a roommate – she walked through my front door late one Friday evening to hang out with the sister who was in town visiting her brother… and I thought to myself, “Who is this?!”  After hanging out with her all weekend I was talking to a family member about it and I said, “There is something about her…”

We’ve been married almost 4 years now.  I can’t imagine my life without her.