I have a small rant tonight. Like many people, I tend to become annoyed when there is something that I don’t fully understand. I had something happen a few months back that annoyed but also puzzled me. Guess I should start from the beginning. So about 4 years ago when I decided to give online dating a real chance, I met this guy. I was using one of the more popular sites and his profile popped up. He messaged and we talked for bit. Nothing serious. He lived across the country and we chatted about our world views. We skyped once for a few minutes because I wanted to verify who he was. We had some very marked differences in perspectives but got along fairly well. For the next few years we messaged each other occasionally. He always started the conversations and we would chat about different things. Again, nothing serious. He was pretty much cemented into the friendzone and seemed ok. Earlier this year he started messaging me more. Again, non-serious conversations. Surface stuff about his current job and how he’s trying to finish up his last few classes in college. He mentioned driving over and hanging out for the weekend. We compared schedules and picked a weekend. Living the life that I live, I had a very strong hunch that he wasn’t really serious. So the weekend came and he cancelled last minute saying “something came up.” I wasn’t upset because I already had stuff planned based on the assumption that he would flake. Crisis averted. So he kept messaging me with small talk. Then out the blue the guy asked me when we would actually meet in person. I have to admit that it caught me a little off guard since the last attempt had been a bust. But I asked specifically why we needed to meet in person. He replied that we would find out if we had chemistry. At this point, I knew I had to be pretty clear. I pointed out the fact that we had been in contact for the past 3 years and he had never actually had a phone conversation with me. We skyped for a few minutes but for the most part our interactions were all online. At that point it seemed clear to me that we didn’t have any chemistry. I’m just not a fan of wasting my time—especially when it involves 3 hours of driving and gas. But I guess it was a blow he could not recover from and he immediately blocked and deleted me on social media. I thought it was a childlike action but we all deal with disappointment in different ways. Maybe he had been trying to get up the courage to make a move for a while and then I just shut him down. But the truth is that it is better to be honest initially than to go back and explain that you did something because you didn’t want his feelings to get hurt. I hate crushing hopes and dreams but you need to make an actual move in a time period of 3 years. What ever happened to men actually putting some effort into something instead of just assuming that you wanted to spend time with them? Oh well.. another one bites the dust.
I must admit that living in the metro area of a city known for its traffic has been quite the adjustment. While I prefer it to sliding along the highway in a blinding snowstorm, allowing a minimum of an hour to go places can be inconvenient. Currently I work about 30 miles from where I live. Without traffic (and speeding) I can make it from work to my house in about 25 minutes. However, in the instances that there is traffic I’ve (by trial and error) to allow at LEAST an hour and half to make the journey. As I was sitting in traffic (literally not moving), I thought about how much you have to prepare ahead while driving. If your exit is coming up you have to start the process of begging and cutting in to make it all the way over to the right hand lane. It’s all about planning ahead and putting yourself in a position that makes it easier to make it to your destination without any additional stress. In life things rarely go according plan (hard lesson to learn by the way), but I’ve learned that sometimes the detours provide the best scenery and give you experiences you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t forced to get off the beaten trail. Yes, it may take longer but there’s a lot of value in appreciating the journey on the way to your destination.
Being a pedestrian can be a nerve wracking experience. While I drive a lot, I usually park a significant distance away from where I am supposed to be in case I want to avoid traffic and leave early. It’s a classic introvert move. Last summer when I traveled to France I walked everywhere. Well, with the exception of the occasional water taxi. I must say that the drivers in Europe operate on an unspoken set of rules I never understood. Instead I was thankful that I didn’t decide driving in a foreign country was something I had to do. I wanted hundreds of near accidents that involved cars, buses, and people walking. Cars just refused to yield to people walking so you had to move out the way or suffer the consequences. Needless to say, I was very alert and cautious when walking and crossing streets. I guess the fact that I was alone the entire time helped me to be more cautious. I recently moved and my apartment complex reminds me of a smaller version of French streets. People pull out without looking and race around searching for a parking spot and forget about the possibility that someone could be walking. My nerves have improved since France so it’s not a big deal to me anymore. It just means I have to be more aware of my surroundings. That’s always a good thing.
I’ve always had a healthy respect for the weather because I have experienced how quickly things can change. When I saw some really dark clouds the other day I made the decision to put my dog in a more confined area before I left my house. He’s notorious for being terrified of storms and his anxiety quickly turns destructive. I started to drive to my destination and the sky got darker and it started to rain. The rain started coming down harder and then went into blinding rain. I turned off my music and slowed down. The sky got darker and the hail started coming out of nowhere. It was at this point that I decided it was probably not the greatest idea to drive with limited visibility, hail and rain so I pulled over and stopped. The wind picked up and the hail kept coming and began to rock my car from side to side. As someone who hates car washes, the experience wasn’t the most pleasant. All of a sudden I got the tornado alert warning on my phone and then the wind stopped blowing and there was an eerie stillness. That’s how I knew there was a tornado on the ground close by. Years of tornado drills, close calls, and even an instance where friends of mine died in a tornado reminded me that a direct hit from a strong enough tornado is almost always deadly. Technically when a tornado comes you’re supposed to find a ditch and lay in it. For some reason I decided that I was just going to stay in my car. The wind picked up again and then started to cease. It was still raining but people were starting to drive. I started my car again and began to drive immediately realizing that there was water almost past my hubcaps. I’m not an expert in flood driving and it doesn’t help that my car is so low to the ground. I quickly and carefully maneuvered out of where I was and searched for higher ground. I pulled into a parking lot and watched the thunder and blinding rain for a little bit until I deemed it was safe to go. Even at that point there were places where the water was almost over my tires so I had to find even higher ground. This required to get out my GPS and find random side streets in order to avoid traffic and water damage to my car. It reminded me of how life happens unexpectedly and how sometimes you just have to wait it out instead of fighting against circumstances and situations. They will go away in time but you’ll exhaust yourself fighting against it prematurely. I had to find an alternate route to find higher ground and in a similar way sometimes the only means of becoming successful is to take the high road and refuse to be brought down by the opinions and judgments of others. The conscious decision not to stoop to the level of foolishness of petty people can cause you to focus on something that actually does matter.
I think that almost everyone at some point or time has read, or watched a story on television that centered around the experience of being in a blizzard. Being from the South and also due to mostly mild winters, I had escaped the experience until a few days ago. There are hundreds of rules about what to do when you’re driving in winter and the things that you need to bring along with you and store in your car in order to ensure survival. These rules are all fine and dandy but unfortunately they were disregarded because it was the freaking middle of April. Winter is supposed to be over by this point. The days are getting warmer and snow is melting. Not this weekend. So my friend and I picked the route to drive because we were trying to dodge a severe weather system in Oklahoma and Texas that included a very high chance of tornadoes. Trip started off great. Warm weather (100 degrees) and sunshine. Gradually clouds started to appear that were darker in color. As the sun was setting it started to rain and become extremely windy. This rain continued and then turned into snow. The wind picked up to the point that it was dangerous to drive. The snow was coming down fast and the wind was making it impossible to see more than five feet ahead of the car. Unfortunately we were in the middle of nowhere. Literally. With the nearest town being 60 miles away. The temperature is dropping and we don’t have proper shoes, coats, water, food, or even flashlights if we were to get stuck. There are no houses nearby and even if there were, being in a white-out makes seeing anything else beside blinding snow impossible. It was then that we realized that if we were to stop our chances of surviving in freezing temperatures without any proper equipment and no cell phone signal was pretty darn small. There are so many stories of people who have overcome huge odds and many times their successes are due to the fact that they did what they had to do because they didn’t have a choice. Stopping on the side of the road would have been a very bad decision so we had to press on. And press on we did. Very slowly and carefully. It was like driving while blind. Horrible horrible horrible. But (thank God) we got through driving 60 miles in blinding snow to the nearest town and stopped for the night. I say all this to say that blizzards aren’t any joke. I have absolutely no desire to ever be in one again and I hope to move to warmer regions where snow is very rarely (if ever) in the forecast.
Disclaimer: this post probably has nothing to do with what the title implies. One of the memories of being a teenager that stand out to me is the occasion of where I learned to drive. I remember studying for my driver’s test (the written portion), failing it and then passing it the next day when I went again. Driving for me was somewhat of a birthright. As the oldest child, my parents were anxious to have another driver to shuttle, run errands, and occasionally to help on some road trips. However, in order to get full driving privileges I had to learn how to drive a standard transmission. Anyone who has learned how to drive a car with a standard transmission knows that it is truly a process of jerking and stopping. Driving up a hill is one of the hardest concepts to learn because it requires a certain level of finesse. You need just enough gas to get up the hill and the clutch for control while not running into the car in back or in front of you. I chuckled when I saw this picture because while driving a standard transmission is a great thing, it is not a test of manhood. Driving a stick shift car is something that seems to be fading into obscurity. I meet more and more people who have no clue on what needs to happen in order to competently start and drive a stick shift. I find that driving a stick shift has helped me be able to multi task at times. Maybe not in a good way. The truth of the matter is that stick shifts require practice in order to drive. Period. However, it’s a great skill to have because you never know when it might come in handy.
I should probably start this off by saying that this is satire. It is not true. I love satire and sarcasm and this article was a great subtle combination of both. That being said, texting and driving is dangerous and should not be done. There have been many times I’ve seen people almost drive off the road because they were buried in their phones or other devices and their attention was split. That being said, if you have absolutely no multi-tasking ability putting your phone away while you drive is a good idea. If you happen to have that ability, stop lights and stop signs are probably the better option for texting instead of doing it while speeding at 75 mph down the highway. Less chance for error. Just saying.