Living in Oblivion

On the plane home from Tybee, I noticed a young woman sitting several seats in front of me and on the other side of the plane. I noticed her because she was flinging her long dirty blonde hair (it may have been dirty blond or it may just have been dirty, I couldn’t quite tell) over the back of her seat into the seat behind her.

 

“Surely this was a mistake. She doesn’t really mean to have her hair hanging in someone else’s very limited seat space, does she?” I wondered to myself. Now some women never touch their hair, some women play with their hair every once in a while (I am one of those) and some women touch their hair A LOT. This woman was the latter. So after the third or fourth time she adjusted and readjusted her hair, she always ended throwing it over the back of her seat.

 

She was oblivious to the guy sitting behind her and her infringement on his personal space. I decided I didn’t like her.

 

Driving to work the other day I sensed the woman driving in the car beside me wanted to move into my lane. I usually know this because drivers will unconsciously start to ease toward the line when they decide they want to switch lanes. When I feel this float to the center, I don’t wait for blinker, I adjust myself to make room ahead or behind me, which ever makes safe sense. In this case I slowed down to make room for her. As I predicted her blinker came on and into my lane she moved. I waited for the thank you wave in the mirror. None came (Not only am I a defensive driver, like Mr Anderson taught me, I am a polite driver. I wave my thank you’s. Sometimes I wave another part of my hand, but that is another story.)

 

Further down the road this happened again with the same driver. This time I had to slow down quickly because she was switching lanes regardless of where I was.

 

She was oblivious and a rude, bad driver. I didn’t like her either.

 

I began to think about these two events and get interested in my attention to them. “Out of all the possible things to notice on a plane, and while driving, why did I notice these?What is it about me that I observe and have a strong negative reaction to oblivion?” I wondered.

 

It didn’t take long for me to get my answer.

 

I never let myself be oblivious!

 

I learned at an early age to be hyper vigilance of other peoples needs. I can walk into a room and tell you who is thirsty. I am always considering my effect on the personal space, needs, wants, desires of the other person. For gods sake, I know when a driver wants to pull into my lane before they do. Sometimes I am exhausted making sure I don’t step on anyones toes.

 

Okay, I got it. Again. This is certainly not the first time life presented me the opportunity to learn this lesson. These two women were my mirrors, reflecting back to me my lopsided sense of responsibility for others. My lesson is to learn to be more oblivious. To not notice as much. To not care as often.

 

Anyone with me on this? Want to pay less attention? Care less, relax more?

 

I just noticed as I was writing this last paragraph I mindlessly made a hand held ponytail in my hair and flipped it over the back of my chair. Granted my hair is not that long and there is no one sitting in a seat behind me, but I’ve gotta start someplace…

Mr. Volvo

The other morning Tom and I were headed to work.  We have been riding together since Tom’s car was totaled, Halloween morning, by a young kid who ran a red light. Since then we have been a one car family. At first this was very difficult for me. Truth be told, I hated it. I liked my time in the car alone. I could drive in silence, listen to music, a book or a conference on CD. My choice. I usually used the time to think, take stock. With Tom in the car it wasn’t my space anymore. However, during some of our morning commutes we had great conversation, caught up on things with each other, or made plans for the evening or week. Sometimes it was really nice. I enjoyed our company. So both experiences were true for me.

 

 

Anyway, this particular morning, as we headed up Bigelow Blvd traffic began to slow. It was still moving but slower than usual. Ahead of us I noticed an older Volvo, changing lanes, speeding up only to have to brake because both lanes were moving slowly, and honking his horn. At one point he was waving his arms in the air above his head. I wondered who was steering his car. He was clearly upset. Being the well trained defensive driver(thank you Mr Anderson) that I am, I tried to determine what had Mr Volvo so upset. Was he seeing something dangerous I wasn’t aware of? My assessment of the situation was that everyone was going slower, but at a constant rate of speed. Odd for this stretch of the road, but not dangerous to me.

 

I commented to Tom, “This guy is really upset.” Continue reading

Everything I Need To Know I Learned in Drivers Ed

Well, maybe not everything. I learned some things on the play ground, some in the locker room and some under the bleachers. But, those are stories for another time.

 

Mr Anderson was my high school drivers education teacher. I remember having a crush on him. It was his calmness and concern for our safety that touched me. He felt like a protective dad. Since my father wasn’t, I took all Mr. Anderson had to offer.

 

He taught me, and my car mates, about becoming velocitized. (My computer tells me velocitized is not a word, as does my dictionary, but they are wrong. Just ask Mr. Anderson.) He explained to us, his newest batch of 16 year old drivers, that when you drive 50 mph for a period of time, your body adjusts to that rate of speed making you feel you are going slower than 50mph. So you increase your speed to 55. That feels fast for a while. Then it doesn’t. Now you speed up to 60…for a while…And on it goes until you hear yourself saying, “No officer, how fast was I going?”    

Continue reading