Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shifting Gears

I can see well on all sides. That was the first thing I thought. It wasn't like being reborn or being given some second chance, like I had imagined it would be. May. Might as well be my last life. That month I was truly feeling my age, both physically and psychically. I lost my job suddenly and found myself forcing to reboot in mid-motion. Stalled in heavy traffic. Watch for the cars. Search your mind frantically for the mistakes you made leading up to this clear punishment by the automotive gods. Everything not associated with survival gets tossed, and you start clamoring for means to get back into the flow. I managed to get the car off to the side of the road and popped the hood. Hoses. Steam. Twisted small pieces so obscure I didn't know if they had been made that way. I found a simple stalled car metaphor and put it in my pocket for later. It was stressful, but forced me to take some time to reassess: the direction, the road, even the vehicle itself. Maybe we should all break down once in a while. But that's not what I thought. I can see well on all sides. That was the first thing I thought.

I called friends to help, and they did. I called on the kindness of strangers, something many of us are pressed to do from time to time. I now call a few of them friends. The strange thing is none of them really helped me fix the car. Turns out more was wrong than that. They prompted me to explore, to consider and reconsider. I looked further than I had in years, sometimes even outward. I walked to neighboring towns and breathed their air. Eventually, every encounter, every locus, every soul brought something with them. One, a new carburetor. Another, fresh plugs and wires. The quietest person I have ever met showed up with a refurbished body. In the end it was a new mode of transportation entirely. When I was ready I turned it over and merged back into the steady stream which never once slowed. I immediately realized I was almost heading in the right direction. I chose a side street and decided it was right. It will never be the same. I know that. My outlook. My routine. I can see better on all sides now. And that is something I don't care to give up any time soon. I'm still on that side road, but trucking along at a better click than before. It's not a second chance. It's just changing gears and moving forward and realizing that is what it's all about. Only now are things going smoothly enough that I can turn on the radio, allow my mind to wander, start making the trip more than just about getting there.