Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Portrait of Pestilence and Perspective

I could have driven to NYC or made nearly five trips to my mom's house in this brief, yet seemingly everlasting moment of my life. At least two rooms in my house could have been, but ultimately never would have been completely cleaned and decluttered. I could have crocheted a hat and scarf set in this stolen space of my existence. There were thousands of possibilities stripped from me in that one split-second decision someone else made, yet I chose to ignore the array of options that were still available for the taking. At one point I did try to read a literary supplement and do some crosswords that were purposefully obtainable for my entertainment, but my fury of the situation at hand would not allow me to focus. Instead I used the greater portion of this sagging gap of my essence insolent at Jon for not listening to my intuition about taking another path, intuition of which he admits has been spot on time and time again. I spent what could have been precious time with my children preposterously infuriated at them for not demonstrating the patience that I could not seem to emulate myself. I made the ultimate decision to exhibit the gift of my blemished humanity despite my option to accept that things were as they should be, because I was livid damn it, and I was going to make sure everyone around me knew it.

Impatience is a pestilence, one of the most contagious diseases I know. One person suffering from such impetuosity can nearly guarantee a domino effect of grand proportions to ensue. It's amazing to me that how in one split-second a single person's thought, decision, and subsequent action can cause an epidemic affecting thousands of people. It is a huge burden to bear knowing that the smallest move you make can at very least temporarily alter the lives of so many around you. For me and my family, we simply lost time and serenity. The time that could have been spent having dinner with my mother and brother, time that could have been used on my comfy couch and in my warm bed was lost mainly because of one person's lack of judgment. Serenity that we could have been sharing as a family reunited after three days was spent being angry at said person's poor decision which put us in this place, ultimately allowing us to be intolerant of one another because none of us were where we wanted to be in that moment. I'm certain that the edginess this lone person must have felt started the chain reaction that subsequently opened up the possibility for an equal amount of the edginess, from which I was now suffering and causing my family to suffer, to worm its way into the lives of the thousands of others also involved in this state of affairs. Impatience is indeed contagious my friends, but I was refusing to see it that it was unquestionably preventable.

While it had been probably one person's fault that I was in this circumstance for the 9.5 hours it lasted for me and my family, it was not this person's fault that I deemed myself unable to cope with the unmitigated state of events. Many hours after my rump began to form a permanent hollow in my seat, sensibility and rational thought began to resume its often misdirected spot in my brain. The resentment I felt about my position and at Jon for not taking the suggested detour was abating. I began to think about those who were stuck in the subway system in NYC when the enormous power failure occurred all those years ago and how awful that experience must have been for them. Even worse, I began to think about the survivors who suffered for days trapped in the twin towers after the attack or more recently in Haiti after the earthquake and began to realize how I was in an indisputably better place than I could ever have imagined. I became conscious of the ungrateful wench I was being, and how my behavior and the energy it was exuding was only a bumpy road that directed me and my family to nothing but irritation and aggravation with one another. The over 50 cars and semi's that crashed on I-71 south yesterday that lead to my spiraling state of unwitting anxiety was certainly not the highlight of my life, but did eventually provide me with a great amount of perspective and something to share with you. It reminded me to be grateful for a full tank of gas and warmth, and for the fact that kids were safe with us. I became appreciative that we were not the ones to cause or be involved in the accident, and that the worst that came out of the whole situation was a few injuries to those involved and a misconstrued sense that time was lost for those who had to wait. I'm hopeful for the lesson the driver who began this course of events learned from this potential catastrophic occurrence and perhaps he or she will remember they are not invincible, that snow can indeed be a dangerous thing under the right (or perhaps wrong) conditions. I was happy that at 1am I was able to walk into my warm home put my kids into beds they could call their own and finally put my head to rest an hour later. As I drifted into a state of slumber I was thankful to be reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Virginia Satir, "Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference".

For more information about the February 15, 2010 crash on I-71, please click on the following links:

http://www.10tv.com/live/content/local/stories/2010/02/16/story-delaware-freeway-crash-cleanup.html?sid=102

http://www2.nbc4i.com/cmh/news/traffic/article/i-71_restricted_in_delaware_county_after_numerous_crashes/31889/

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