Time slowed as the coffee cup slid from the counter and took it’s maiden voyage to the ceramic floor below. Shattering fragment mixed with the hot blacken java as Jack stood there helpless only to watch. There wasn’t time for this. His routine was already behind schedule due an unscheduled power outage compromising his alarm. A near by towel made quick work of the mess, and soon he was back to the list of morning agendas; most important was getting some coffee.
Using his cell phone to maneuver though his house, it began to beep. A quick glance revealed he had ten percent battery. Forcing a smirk Jack was determined not to let this deter him. It was Friday, payday, and a three day weekend was starting after work. His optimism dissipated as he stepped into the cold shower. How long was the power off? He asked himself. It was times like this he wished his apartment came with a full size water heater. On the bright side, he had no reason to stall. Drying off, he made his way to the sink to comb his hair and brush his teeth. One more look at his appearance and he was off to get dressed. His work uniform eased the task of picking out clothes for the day. Under garments, blue shirt with his name over the left pocket, blue jeans, and steel-toed boots were donned. Grabbing his lunch and keys he rushed out the door. To his dismay, he was greeted with a flat tire. Well, why not it’s been that type of morning already. After calling his work, to let them in on his delay, Jack started changing his tire. As he took the lug nuts off, he reflected on the morning. Had he been twenty years younger his anger would have been a big factor. However, time, age, and wisdom has a way of calming people down. The morning sky began to illuminate with a soft amber hue. Birds began to call, as an air of serenity captivated the moment. As Jack tightened the last lug nut and lowered the truck, he began to take pride in his age. He wasn’t the irrational, loud mouth, quick to anger boy that he use to be. No, now he was happy. Life happens and Jack knew what it took to keep a positive outlook.
Although he was late, Jack never rushed to catch up. He was were he was, and he was going to enjoy the moment. Frantically his boss approached asking if he was going to make up for the hour lost.
Jack gave him a grey bearded smile. “That hour was never lost. I know exactly how it was spent, along with the rest of the time this morning.”
As Chris entered the serene room, he couldn’t help but notice how clean and organized Dr. O’Brien kept his office. Each calm step he took held back the anxiety brought on by this meeting. Speaking to a psychiatrist felt like a confessional. After five year six month and thirteen days with no results, what’s the point of going? But there was something in the way that Dr. O’Brien spoke that promised change; although no promise was actually made.
After receiving a formal gesture to set, Chris hesitated. The low back, grey modern style chair with it’s tightly stretched material gave it a rock-hard appearance. Transferring his weight to the chair, he felt it conform to his body, feeling nothing like it appeared. Wanting to comment on the chair, Chris held his tongue. It was likely that many other clients before him had already made the same statement. It would be foolish for him to do the same. Besides he was here for Dr. O’Brien, not the chair.
Pleasantries were exchanged and the Dr. O’Brien just started conversing. The more Chris interacted, the less it felt like a confessional session. In fact, it was just two guys talking about their childhood. The two compared memories about the 90’s. Chris found himself talking about things that he didn’t even talk to his brother about. When the conversation got too deep, Dr. O’Brien would change the tempo, never asking how anything made Chris feel.
The session came to an end and Chris stood up taking one last look at the chair.
“Is there something wrong?” Dr. O’Brien inquired.
“No. But it is striking in how similar this chair is to the conversation we just had.” Pausing he shook Dr. O’Brien’s hand. “I enjoyed our conversation as much as I enjoyed setting in this block-style chair.”
“What good is a conversation if one cannot relax?”
Turning back as he exited the room, Chris smiled. “Indeed.”
Every muscle crystalized as Louie noticed the faceless humanoid following him. The primal instinct between fight or flight ensued within his head. His body, frozen in time, waited for orders. Seconds felt like minutes as he feverishly fanned between the two choices, RUN!
Sheltering behind a tree, Louie stopped to catch his breath. With a jackhammer heart he fought to listen for the creatures footsteps. The sound of pleasant conversation drifted in the background. Unfortunately, as chance would have it, he was the only one who seen the creature. Why was it following him? Images of the faceless being were etched into his memories. He knew it was looking at him. He could feel it peering at him. Slowly his heart sustained a tempo primo rhythm.
Creeping a look behind him, Louie’s eye locked onto the creature standing inches away on the other side of the tree. Horror belted an involuntary scream from his lungs as he lounged into a full sprint. Frantically fighting to sustain balance he continued to scream. Tears began to stream. He had to keep running. A glimpse back revealed it was too late. The creature grabbed at his feet. The beast was upon him. A wale belted from his soul as he gave in to the hopelessness.
A pair of arms reached down and engulfed Louie in an embracing hug.
“Aw, did lil Louie find his shadow today?” Louie’s mother asked.
Turning to her friend, “They are so cute at this age.”
“I remember the first moment I saw you in the store, Leo. You were the new boy in town and all the girls were talking.” Margret recollected to her husband. The soft sound of his chuckle echoed in her head as she continued..
“We have been through a lot, you and I.” Her words froze as the cold hard truth set in.
“The wasted years we spent yelling at each other in our youth, not seeing the other’s perspective. If only I could go back, I’d slap some sense into that stupid girl. Learning to grow together and become one is the second most difficult thing a couple will learn to do. The hardest thing is maintaining that togetherness.”
“But, we had some great times too. I’ll never forget the look in your eyes when you first held Emily. I was so scared you would be upset that I didn’t give you a boy. But you didn’t even care. She was your pride and joy.”
A soft breeze blew across the front porch, as Margret continued her morning memoirs’. “The winds of change brought us a lot. closer. It seemed there for a while every step forward was met with two steps back. Employment was down and you lost your job. Bills stacked up and stress was high. Somehow we managed though. We grabbed onto each other like two kids lost in a hurricane. Neither one of us knew how we would get by, but we did. You found another job, I started working part-time. and slowly but surely life began to piece itself together. Oh, and the mother-daughter arguments seemed to go on forever at times. Why you didn’t leave, I’ll never know. I would have” she chuckled.
A moment passed in silence as her memories continued. Leo was always there. He helped in every aspect of raising Emily. Margret loved having her neighbors come over complaining about their husbands. She would start bragging about how great of a father Leo was, the things he did around the house to help and how cheerful of a man he was. This would send them off in frustration, leaving Margret there in peace. Uncouth, perhaps, but Margret couldn’t resist doing it.
“I believe you took Emily going to college harder than I did. Don’t get me wrong it was hard for me too, but you did more house chores that summer than I ever remember. You painted the front yard fence, tightened all of the plumbing in the house, planted too big of a garden, anything you could lay your hands on you fixed, and I swear you were mowing the lawn every day.” Her laughter caught the best of her as she began to cough and hack while fighting to catch her breath. Old age has a way of making any moment awkward. Collecting herself from the laughter Margret continued. “The proudest moment came when you walked her down the isle to be married. You could see the pride beaming from your bold brown eyes. Your whole body screamed “This is my daughter!”. You always did have a way of expressing yourself without saying much. There were times you and I could carry a whole conversation and not say a word. Friends and family often marveled over it.”
“They say life isn’t easy, and that is so true. But with you, life has been an enjoyment. Besides, who in their right mind would want easy when they can have fun.” Placing her hand in his, she looked at the empty chair beside her.
“Thanks for the great times Leo.”
“You’re slowing everyone down.” This was my mental comment as I observed an impatient chronic lane-changer. With each whipping move the automobile caused others to repeatedly slow down and readjust their driving gap. As stated in my last post, I drive the speed limit; not five over. Rarely do I need to slow down since everyone is driving five-over. However, a chronic lane-changer will cause traffic to slow down to five under. Thus, causin me to slow down as well. (Now we’re all driving five under. Joy!)
We are selfish drivers. We want to be first at the red light. We want to pass others. We want the shortest rout for ourselves. 🎶 We can’t drive 55 🎶.
Is it wrong to want these things? I say no. Wanting to be first at a red light is not wrong. It’s when our actions impede others that it become morally uncouth. Traffic would travel smoother if everyone picked a lane and stuck with it, at least that’s how my theory goes. It’s at this point I know I’m suppose to say “Something something Braess Paradox.”
The way we coexist with others is very similar to the above mentioned driving. Our actions have a cause and effect on others. Are we helping or hindering those around us? Slowing down and being considerate of others takes discipline. But, that’s what separates the adults from the children. Each step we take towards improving ourselves and helping those around us is a step closer to heaven on Earth.
No one wants to hear how horrible their driving is. After all, I’m the best driver out there. Other drivers are idiots. 🙂
I apologize for the name calling.
To prove my point I downloaded an app called Everdrive. Turns out I take corners as though I’m on a roller-coaster, I dig into my brakes a little too hard (oh look everyone in the car is leaning forward again), and I accelerate like a bullet. That best driver title faded rather quickly.
After being shown where my flaws were, I started improving each area measured by the app; phone use, acceleration, braking, cornering, and speeding. I never considered myself as a speeder, just a “five over” type of guy. Turns out, I sped a lot. There were times I blew by slower zones without realizing they were there. This was a wake-up call. I sucked as a driver, not to the extreme but you get the picture.
Now I drive the speed limit, not five over. Yes, people pass me. People passed me when I did ten over, I mean five. What I did find interesting is that while people passed me, there was another group of drivers that drove the speed limit too. The commute has turned more relaxful. I stay in the right lane, unless I’m turning left up ahead. I’ve reduced my chances of being pulled over. And, my gas mileage has increased by 2 mpg.
As of today, I am in the top 20 percent of state-wide driver who use this app, and I’m number one in my city. My driving score is 99.5 in NC. This doesn’t prove I’m the best driver. However, I am becoming more safe and less reckless. End the end, that’s what matters, being safe and reducing casualties and injuries. Do you use this app? I would love to hear your driving score and state.
– cheers 🙂
We are sponges soaking up everything we experience. Our ears perk up and our eyes widen to capture the essence of the moment. Then, we expel it to those around us like emotional vomit. Like it or not everyone performs this cycle. So, let’s look at two types of sponges, clean and dirt.
A clean sponge is just that. It has no filth, grime, or moldy mildew. If said sponge soaks up clean water, it will expel clean water. If that same sponge soaks up dirty water it will expel dirty water.
You at this point:What a scientific break through!
Me: I know, right?
You: Let me sum up my research thesis in one word. Duh!
Bare with me because this is where people don’t make the connection.
A dirty sponge expels dirty water. Meaning, it takes time to clean that sponge. The more dirt it soaks up, the longer it will need to be cleaned.
Going back to my first statement, we are sponges. What type of environment are we subjecting ourselves to? Do we watch only family oriented movies? Is our music pure and wholesome? Are the people we surround ourselves with positive?
We cannot help who we are forced to work with. However, we can control our actions. Either they will warm up to us or find someone else to talk to. Like minded people are attracted to each other. Stay positive and positive people will find us. It starts with what we absorb.