Friday, September 16, 2011

Slowing Down

So, apparently, I am supposed to slow down.  How do I know this?  Well, I am pretty sure that God is trying to send me that message on the road. 

Each day, I make a 30 minute drive to work with both my kids, who are dropped off at daycare just before I get to work.  I have to leave the house by a certain time to beat the traffic, drop them off, and be at my desk by 8am.  Just a few minutes delayed, and the whole commute turns stressful in a hurry....more traffic, more rushed getting the kids to their classrooms (although their teachers are great and I can literally drop Scout off still in her car guess as to how I know this). 

Monday, after I had picked up the kids, we were on our way home.  We had gone a few blocks and were approaching a busy street.  I had the green light but slowed to make sure traffic was stopped or would stop.  I came to a stop before I entered the intersection because despite having the green light, there was an approaching "box truck" (think big UHaul type truck) that either never saw the light or just didn't care to stop.  I was thankful the car behind me stopped and didn't ram me either.  If I had proceeded into the intersection, we would have been hit on the drivers side of my truck and that would mean all three of us would have taken a direct hit.  Kale sits directly behind the driver's seat and Scout is right next to him.  Scary thought.  It made tears come to my eyes when I realized that "driving ahead of myself" had possibly just saved our lives.  Even though the truck passed a good 15 feet in front of me, it still made me shaky to think about what could have happened. 

Then there was Wednesday at lunch.  My husband doesn't even know this part of the story.  I went out for lunch, which included grabbing a quick fast food meal and then browsing a consignment shop.  On my way back to work, I was cruising along and was thankfully paying attention when a young woman carrying a baby in an infant seat started across the crosswalk in front of me.  I had plenty of time to stop, but she didn't seem to care if traffic was going to stop for her.  She just walked right on out into the street.  The crosswalk isn't at an intersection with a stoplight, so its not as noticeable.  Had I not been paying attention, it could have been a bad situation.  

Apparently, I wasn't getting the message.  So, Thursday morning I had another opportunity to get the message.  My husband had to leave extra early so I was solo with getting myself and both kids up, fed, dressed, and on our way.  My days start at 5:30am and I am not a morning person.  If I am lucky, my bedtime is 9:15, but usually ends up being later.  So, by Thursday morning I am dragging and feeling the wear of the week on my body.  I was a good ten minutes late getting out the door.  Yep, I hurried on the commute.  I got the kids to school and to their classes and got back in my truck with just enough time to get to my parking spot, make the trek into work, and get to my desk on time....if I hurried.  Its easy to hurry until the blue lights show up behind you.  In 21 years of driving, I had never been pulled over until Wednesday.  When I saw the blue lights, I hoped it was my brother because he was working that morning.  When he didn't immediately open the door and hop out of the patrol unit, I knew I was in trouble.  So, I did what any sister would do, I called my brother and begged him to somehow have the officer show me leniency.  I got pulled over for not letting an old lady get on her bicycle and completely leave the crosswalk.  The street is extra wide with parallel parking on both sides and is a one way street.  I was on the right side of the street and she was on the left, a few feet from the curb and had paused to get onto her bicycle.  I went on through the crosswalk.  Here came the blue lights.  The officer stepped out and was a beanstalk.  He told me why he stopped me, took my license, registration and insurance, and went back to his unit.  I immediately called my brother. 

**Side note:  I was mean as all get out to my brother when we were little.  I loved him immensely (and still do), but I also tormented him.  He saw his chance for some revenge and took it.  He let me know the officer was working special assignment crosswalk patrol and couldn't write me a warning.  I was getting a ticket.  I wanted to cry.  I didn't.  But I wanted to.  The officer brought me my WARNING and let me go.  It was only then that my brother sent me a message to say he was just messing with me about the ticket.  Silly younger got me, but I will get you back, don't you worry!  Ok, side note over.**

You would think the word "WARNING" might get my attention.  It did, but not enough.  I knew I was going to be late for work, but was hoping it would only be by a few minutes at this point.  I turned into the parking lot and groaned.  There wasn't one parking spot.  Oh wait, there was one spot.  It was way down at the end of the row that is assigned for state employee parking (that is me!).  I considered myself lucky because I have been told that if you get to work after 7:55 you may not find a parking spot you won't have to pay for, as there are not enough spots for the number of employees.  Whew.  I got a spot.  I parked and took off for my desk.  I completely missed the fact that the last two parking spots on that row are marked with numbers and not the "state employee parking with permit" signs.  The numbered spots require you to pay a lot meter.  I walked out of work that afternoon and was looking forward to some time with the kids and my mom as we ran a few errands.  Oh look, a yellow envelope on my truck!  Even better, a parking ticket inside the yellow envelope!  I started laughing.  Ok God, I get it.  Slow down. 

I managed to go from never getting pulled over to pulled over and given a warning and scoring a parking ticket all in one less than 9 hours.  Besides the slow down lesson and my brother getting the chance to have some revenge, the only other good thing I can name from the experience was that at least my husband was out of town at training as they ran my license plate not once, but twice in the same day.  If he had been in town, he could have easily heard it on the radio traffic.  It might have stood out to him since he would have heard his own name go across the radio. 

However, I did do one thing in a hurry...I paid my parking ticket.  I was warned by both my loving officers (husband and brother) that if I didn't pay it, a warrant would be issued for me.  I think I will draw the line at having to ask them to come bail me out of jail because I didn't pay a $5 parking ticket. 

I get it God, slow down!

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