It took me a long time today to drive from London, Ontario to Toronto. Near Kitchener and again while approaching TO, it was often bumper to bumper. No big deal … I’ll get there when I get there.
I was creeping forward in the middle lane. Ahead of me a semi-trailer on the right jerked wildly to the left, causing the car already occupying that space to slam on the brakes. Yuck! That’s how people die out here. Peace withered away as I blasted the trucker from the safety of my insides. Just like that, I had created an enemy. What a dumb thing to do. Maybe he or she was having a body reaction that caused the sudden movement. Or the boss had blasted them an hour earlier. But empathy didn’t seem to be my strong suit today.
Enemies need to be defeated, I reasoned. The driver was back in the right lane and the seas suddenly parted for anyone over there. Those folks sped ahead of those of us who were crawling in the middle or left. Grrr. (Look how easily my equanimity can be replaced by battle mode. So humbling.) Minutes later, the truck reappeared on the right, gradually being pulled back to me. My heart soared. Here was the true meaning of life – beat the other fellow. All of my sinews thrilled as I edged past the bad guy.
And so went our slow motion back-and-forth tussle. I bet it took me forty-five minutes to realize that I had given all of my power to Mr. Trucker. His ebbing and flowing was controlling my life. Why, oh why, didn’t I see this right away? Guess it’s just my rampant imperfection.
Finally, I let the fellow or gal go. I let the contest go. They were just doing their job, probably being pushed by some supervisor to get from A to B 10% faster. My body calmed. My soul smiled. Let’s be friends.
Ten minutes later, I was still in the middle and the trucker was on the right, virtually even. And then … poof! … they were gone. In my rearview mirror, I saw the truck pull off on the shoulder, flashers on.
I looked back and I was sad
Goodbye, companion of the road
No more waging war
Fare thee well