Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red, white and summer blues


Call me unpatriotic, anti-social, bored with the whole "pollute up the air" fireworks, but Independence Day has never been anywhere near the top of my list of favorite holidays.  Maybe because it falls in summer. I don't eat hot dogs, not too fond of jello salad, can't stand the noise from the neighborhood street firecrackers and the late night pan banging and bottle rockets that interrupt my already restless sleep.

But, as usual, I am harassed by friends, or perhaps I should use a less harsh word, let's try nudged, by my best friend Virginia in particular, to engage in the festivities, oh it will be so fun!  She promises Sangria, her killer potato salad (which it was) sun, pool and laughs (which were many).

Sangria, anyone?
Last year I decided to attend her 4th of July BBQ, she lives in Roseville, and from Napa it takes me about an hour and 40 minutes to get to her house.  After the long day's festivities I decided to drive home and was stuck in traffic that made my one way drive home an obnoxious 4 hours long.  Imperfect ending to a perfect day. I swore I would never get anywhere near I-80 again on a holiday, or I might even go so far as to avoid I-80 for the entire summer. It would just depend how well my memory would serve me.

I-80

So this year, same invite to spend the 4th with Virginia.  I decided to spend the night this time, enjoy a leisurely morning with coffee together on the patio and that way insuring an easy ride home.  Yes, I'll show them.  While all of you folks are back working on Tuesday, me and my smug self will be zooming along in the fast lane, making record time, thrilled at my good fortune of having the luxury to come and go as I please.  My mistake, apparently everyone else had the same bad taste in their mouth from their previous holiday road trips and decided they too, could take an extra day off work and beat the rest of the crowds at their own game.

I'm not sure the reason, but Cal Trans always seems to schedule major road construction during the summer (which I've never understood, since we have extremely mild winters here and the work could be done anytime during the year) but they seem to be particularly fond of holiday weekends.  Really hot ones.  Where the sun beats in your car window and even with the A/C blasting a chilly 59 degrees, you could still get 3rd degree burns on one side of your face, your one arm, throw in a thigh.  Maybe they resent having to work during the heat of summer  - you know, misery loves company.  If I'm going down I'm gonna take you with me attitude.

So, it's bad enough that there is traffic, construction, and temperatures hovering around the 100 degree mark.  But the drivers, OMG, the drivers! I realize that I do obsess about this subject matter from time to time, but I can't help but be amazed that a driver's license is so easy to get.  For one thing, I would think if the general public has grasped the concept of "tall, grande and venti" that by now they should understand, "slow lane, fast lane, and the harmless middle of the road lane."  But apparently not.  There is nothing worse (I know that isn't a true statement, of course there are worse things, but the statement is for effect) than being trapped behind someone driving much too slow in the fast lane, you can't get around them, because car #2 in the lane next to you is mindlessly keeping pace with you.  There is no way out, you are stuck driving behind "I obey all speed limits" and wedged next to the car in the middle lane who could care less about your dilemma.  Frustrating to say the least. 

I have mentioned before that I am a Fire Monkey in Chinese Astrology and one of the first mentions of the monkey personality is that they have "superiority complexes" - I don't really see it as a complex, it just is what it is.  I know how to drive.  I pay attention, not just to the road in front of me, but the drivers behind me, on the side of me, I check my rear view mirror frequently, check to see who is merging on the freeway and make room if need be.  I guess though, that my expectations of others are too high - I expect them to drive like I do.  Sometimes I can get a little high strung in the car - which can be intensified if say, someone like "Nine Inch Nails" comes on the radio - and I need to remind myself, "find better station" and "breathe, just breathe".

But on a positive note, and I am working this to find one, as I was crawling along, barely moving, a good sized dragonfly was flying along side my car, at eye level and just stayed with me for maybe 5 minutes.  Here on this late hot morning, on a polluted freeway, this little creature stayed with me, kept me distracted and it made me recall a time when it seemed dragonflies were all around me, I would see them in the yard, on a book jacket, on a piece of artwork, and I looked up their meaning.  The dragonfly is symbolic of renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. Dragonflies can also be a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity. As a creature of the wind, the dragonfly frequently represents change and maybe most importantly, as a dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest with the short time it has.

Alright little happy dragonfly, I will try and heed your message.  Which I am taking as "quit complaining, grow up a bit, and enjoy your life, even if stuck in traffic."  I guess if you look around a bit, side to side, instead of always straight ahead, lose the tunnel vision, there are many good things worth seeing, even on the congested freeway of life.




1 comment:

  1. Love it! I can totally relate with my recent excursions back and forth to Oregon! Can't believe they haven't improved the I-80 by now :(

    Especially enjoy your reference/comparison of the Starbucks ordering system to the slow, middle, and fast lanes....some people just don't follow the rules!!!

    Ahhhh, summertime

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