Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day two hundred and seventeen ... Around the world to the left.

It happens to the best of us.

We try to use all the available safety and courtesy maneuvers at our disposal when we are out on the road.

We flash our beams at a car who can't tell that they're a bit dimmer than the rest.

We honk if someone comes a bit too close in our lane.

We point at the back of someone's car if we see one of their tires is flatter than it should be.

And we use our blinkers.

What a genius advancement in transportation's vast language.

The blinkers help us to avoid others; to signal a turn to a member of a caravan; or to alert us of a dangerous situation by using both at once.

But sometimes we use them ... and then we forget.

Often times we put all our faith in the steering column to return our helping solid, plastic, lighted rectangle back to the "off" position when we are done merging.

But as you probably all know, it doesn't always work that way.

Sometimes we leave it on by accident after we've made a decisive move, especially if we are distracted or unable to hear the "click ... clack ... click ... clack" sound that seems to be universal regardless of whether you have a Chevy Nova, or an Aston Martin.

Sometimes we can't tell that we are exhibiting signs of intended direction unnecessarily.

And then, lo and behold, when we finally come to the point in the road where we want to alert those behind us and ahead of us which direction we plan to go, it is discovered.

We realize that we have been overtly sending these signals for longer than we can account for. We find that our point is moot, regardless of our intentions. We discover that we can't press the turn-signal lever any further than it already is.

We have sabotaged ourselves in the name of safety.

But really, what are our choices?

We could turn our signal off--which untold numbers of cars have wished, as they pass nervously by the driver, singing loudly or talking on the phone, oblivious or indifferent to our stares--but what good would that do?

Perhaps we could just leave it on and make the move we've been suggesting we would. 

Somehow, that seems more dangerous than if we hadn't even used them in the first place.

Because we've lost credibility. We wonder how long we had been warning people unnecessarily, meanwhile adding to the confusion of an already distracting and dangerous mode of travel.

And those who choose to stay the speed limit will be behind us, until either they or you make a turn. And they will be just a touch leery of your intentions.

Others still, will speed by, shooting a suspicious glance our way.

So, for me, I'm paying close attention to the signals I'm giving off. I'm trying to reel myself in from the manic gesturing and warning that I have become accustomed to over the last, almost eight months. I don't want to come off as someone who tries to show the world which direction I'm headed and then can't shut the hell up about it.

It's not easy.

I've always had a tendency to bring out the things I am happy about for inspection for whoever is in the next room. I've done it since I was a kid. I think it may be a byproduct of being an only child, but that's not really an excuse. 

Now I'm an only adult, and I have to act a bit more mature if I wish to be taken seriously by those around me.

I have to make sure that if I tell people that I'm going to do (or have done), something, to remember to shut up about it for a while and just let it stand on its own.

Everybody can see I'm in the furthest lane to the left.

I don't want to make them worry I'm thinking about cautiously driving into the ravine. 

"click ... clack ... click ... clack ... ."

Thanks for reading.


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