Sunday, October 15, 2023

When you can't see the potholes for the shadows... Part 1

I live in a small town. Well, it's actually the outskirts of the outskirts of a small town. Most of the drivers of the other vehicles on the road wave in acknowledgment when they see you, people blow their horns at you when you're out in your yard as they pass by, and several people stop to offer a hand if you are a stranded motorist. And there are kaboodles of back roads.

One of the back roads connects us to the interstate, and is a detour when the interstate becomes a parking lot. This road is lined with magnificent groves of oak, elm, and pecan trees adjoined by fields and creek beds. The road isn't as beautiful as the flora and fauna surrounding it. There are pot holes. Deep and flat-tire-beckoning pot holes. And when you're driving a few hours after sunup until a few hours before sundown, there are shadows from those gorgeous trees that completely hide the looming death of vehicle tires that lie within the potholes.

I'm reminded of the ancient epic (Was it the Illiad or the Odyssey?) that had the mysterious Sirens whose beauty and songs beckoned sailors and ships to their deaths against the craggy banks and cliffs. The pot holes don't look like shadows. They are hidden by them.

My husband drives this back road every day to work, unless it is icy. He has every pothole memorized, so he effortlessly darts and dodges them. All I see are shadows as I'm holding on for dear life, because he does that road at a speed not tested by Consumer Reports Magazine. It looks reckless to the outsider to see lots of vehicles all day long doing a verifiable slalom course on a country road.

My dad isn't one of those drivers. He drives sooo slowly that he can go in and out of the potholes like he's playing the game "Operation". Buuuuuzz! He hits the sides, but at least he is making minimal impact.

And I try to drive a few miles under the speed limit, think I see a pothole inside a shadow, dodge it, and hit the actual pothole. 

We all have different approaches navigating the same obstacles. It's similar to the way we process things around us. My husband won't buy anything over $40 without researching it, and then he knows what he knows. He'll remember the stats because he is detail-oriented. Pothole evasive maneuvers are a breeze for him because of how he is wired.

My dad is never in a hurry. Never. So he'll always "cross that bridge when he comes to it". And he'll ease through problems by not zooming through them. He may face a lot of rough spots, but his methodical approach always sees him through. 

And then here I am overanalyzing, overthinking, and getting to the nuts and bolts of issues-- and not always getting it right.

Who is to say what the actual right way is to navigate obstacles, because we're all individuals, right?  And how does this relate to my hopes and dreams?  More on this later.

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