Time..on my hands…gross.

I have time on my hands…and it’s gross.  No, not really…but it is ironic.  As mothers of young children, we always think we need more TIME to ourselves.  Here I am…out of town for work…but with a big l-o-n-g gap of time.  See, I have to catch different mealtimes for daycare providers.  I have seen 3 for lunch and now I need to see a dinner. I am in the Bermuda triangle between Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  I ate. I have gone to the casino…where I magically turned $5 into a half tank of gas, and now I am at a small town library.  I’m tired of my email and social media.  It’s only fun when you sneak it to distract you during the stresses of a typical day. 

It feels a little like how I felt post-baby when I showed up at the library and just stood there realizing, “I don’t know which authors I even like anymore.”  I can’t commit to a book here because I’m not driving back 2 hours to return it. Besides that…I don’t feel like reading.  I am listening to a 10 disc audiobook with an English accent in my car for the trip.  I don’t feel like blogging either…but that isn’t stopping me. I got my shopping jag out of the way last night when I purchased a white dresser for 3 year olds room, a cool loft bed for the boys, and a mattress online from Walmart .  If only I listened to my 9 year olds wisdom.  He recently said, “Remember…the Walmart card isn’t infinite”. 

See…you think you want time to yourself…which is great…except when it isn’t.   

In the distance I hear Super Mario Brothers Mario Kart.  Why? Why do I hear video games at a library?  It is only to remind me that I have small children.  It’s like a comfort background noise from home.  I have grabbed a book called, “The Pampered Child Syndrome”.  It is a short book.  There is a girl of about 3 eating a double scoop ice cream cone.  It’s by Maggie Mamen (might as well give credit where credit is due).  The picture is fuzzy, but it might as well be my daughter’s face.  Damn…I think I’m going to put the book back soon and find an ice cream parlor.  Mmm… ice cream…A.D.D..kicks in…fade to black.

Incomplete Stop

I was all set for an out of town work training.  I had the car fueled up, iPass intact, audiobook selected, cash on hand, kids out of my hands.  Heading to Chicago, it was a lot of highway driving.   I was sure to stay in the right lane mostly, obeying the speed limit…c-a-u-t-I-o-u-s.  After a long while, I entered the quiet suburb where my training took place.  To be honest, I was running late.  Not by much, but closer to 10 minutes.  Just enough time to feel rushed as you imagine the whole conference room will turn and look at you slightly tsking as you come in haphazardly. 

There was a 3-way stop with nobody in sight.  I did what I always do…tap brakes to snail speed, look, and go.  I guess this is a rolling stop…except I completely exaggerated the next beat when I saw the cop car to my left.  So it was..tap brakes to roll stop…accelerate…SLAM BRAKES. 

Police officer: “Where are you headed?”

Honest Andrea: “To the library for a training…I’m running a little late” 

Police officer: “I think you can just take the traffic class, Do you have anything else on your record?”

 TOO honest Andrea: “You might have to double check.”

 There is something about admitting you are running late that makes officers stall…and suggesting he ‘double checks’ was like admitting I never wanted to make it to my training.

We kindly parted and I pulled 100 feet ahead to what I didn’t realize was…the library..the final destination.

CLASSIC

I excused my tardiness with my tale of woe/irresponsibility and settled in. I was pleased that someone else came in 5 minutes later than me…like I won some contest or something.

Weeks later I paid my fee…which totally cancelled out any $ I would have made from the training…and sat on my butt at a Starbuck’s with a latte in hand to begin my “4 hours exactly (no going ahead) online traffic class”.

I have to say, the class was formatted nicely…video clips, short quizzes, audio narration accompaniment.  I relearned things and  I basically realized that  nobody belongs on the road.  We all suck to some degree.  We don’t drive 4 seconds behind the car in front of us, we pass each other too often, we hang out in truck driver’s blind spots, we speed, proceed through green lights without ‘checking’, and we don’t stop appropriately at stop signs.  

To avoid an incomplete stop, you need to press down on the brakes, allowing your car to rock forward…then back to rest at a complete stop.  This take a bit of awareness of what we are doing, and a lot of driving is almost subconscious. 

There was a section on distracted driving and how that delays our reaction times.  We all know phones are hazardous and yet…we do it.  I find myself pleased to hit a stop light now…pleased….WTH.  It’s a chance to check my phone.  How stupid. Although I have to say,  last week I spaced out just long enough to avoid some idiot drag racing his little compact car to make a left turn against my green light.  Basically, Twitter saved my life in that instance. 

This whole ‘incomplete stop’ incident really made me step back and relate it to real life.  There are times we stop completely…but for too long according to somebody else’s standards.  A honk from someone else’s impatience shakes us back into the flow of traffic.  There are times we slow down and pay attention to people and things…and other times we rush.   This can be something as simple as not paying attention to the present moment to something as sincere as taking the time you need to mourn something or somebody in your life.   

What can you admit to making an ‘incomplete stop’ to this week?