Wait, For Now

Early morning. Hours yet before there is light enough for me to see the full extent of damage to my car.

 

Returning home last night from work, after a stop at the grocery store (oh, if only I’d gone back for the bundle of kindling, which was the reason I’d stopped in the first place, but I was so tired.), eggs and wine and something to stir fry in a sack pressed snug against my laptop bag and the rinsed-out remains of my lunch. I’m traveling the speed limit. I note this for you, because the stretch of road that drops into my village from the hill overlooking two bays is a notorious speed trap. It’s all too easy—when you’re so close to home, when, in the daylight, you’re distracted by the sunglints and sailboats on the water and the mountains beyond—to let the car cruise past thirty, flirt with forty.

 

But I am careful. I drive this stretch a dozen times a week, at least. I know just the right amount of pressure on the gas to keep the speedometer hovering at the limit.

 

On this night, last night, as I dip down into town, glowering headlights consume my rearview mirror. Dodge Ram crawls up my ass, past the diner, past the Safeway, through the intersection and all along the stretch that borders the shipyards. Must not be a local. I let it go, lost in my end of a long workday, rambling, footsore thoughts of dinner, copyedits. I ignore the menacing glare of light behind me; so close to home, one of us is bound to make a turn soon.

 

I’m certainly not thinking about getting sideswiped. I’m not prepared for the driver behind me to decide, suddenly, that he will take the same left turn I’m making, but that he’ll make it first, and in trying to get ahead of me, he runs into me.

 

The driver tells me in the parking lot where we end up, two sets of hazard lights flashing, that he “got tired of waiting for me.” The molding of my side mirror wobbles on the hood of my car, my hands shake as I search in my purse for my insurance card.

2015-08-07-08-44-14-1
Collision Course

 

Awakened by anger in the wee, lonely hours. Dismayed. Hurt. In my mind’s playback loop I keep hearing, “I got tired of waiting for you.”

 

What happened to me last night feels like a metaphor for this long, bitter night of election season. We’re all just so very tired of waiting for each other. And so we ram our own way forward, regardless of anyone else’s safety or well-being. To hell with common sense or what is legal, moral or ethical. We’ve lost our compassion, our empathy, our sense of a greater good. We’ve lost our way.

 

I don’t really know what to do now. I’m not of a mind to forgive. Not today. It’s hard to muster the energy to be an activist, a writer, an engaged human being when merely driving down the road puts you at risk of someone else’s thwarted sense of entitlement.

 

I’m too tired to do much else today but move forward. I have to leave for work again soon. I have to, like everyone else around me, pick up and continue, despite the anger, the despair, the bewilderment. I have to find hope.

 

Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a little and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

~ from Wait by Galway Kinnell (1927-2014)

14 thoughts on “Wait, For Now

  1. I certainly understand that one of the major perks of living where I do is having limited time behind the wheel. It makes me happier…because cars bring out *the worst* in people.

    That fellow might even be a decent human being in other circumstances, but you sure can’t tell by the way he treated you.

    I am also so upset and sad that the issues at hand in 2016 are things we should have gotten past a long time ago. “Does everyone deserve equal rights?” “Should the KKK have a political voice?” I thought these things were no-brainers, but, well, now there are KKK pamphlets being left on my train.

    I don’t know what to do. I keep telling myself that I need empathy if I want to change hearts and minds, but it’s so hard to find it when I’m talking to someone that has no problem taking away rights from me and mine. It is a hard time to be a sensitive person walking in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mae, this is what I’m struggling with as well. Right now, I’m reserving my empathy and compassion for those most in need, those in danger, who continue to be marginalized and are at risk of further violence to their civil rights, their bodies. It’s very hard for me to care much about the Trump voter right now, whatever their needs may be. That’s where I am.

      The damage to my car was minimal. If $850 can be considered minimal. But the bewilderment and frustration at being a target of road rage, for something so ridiculous as following behind a driver adhering to the speed limit . . . I’m still at a loss.

      Hugs to you, my friend. I do pray for peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had a similar experience and it takes the wind right out of you. It’s sickens me to know there are such idiots that feel they can do whatever the heck they feel entitled to do without any regard for anyone. Take good care, Julie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry this happened, Julie. It’s beyond belief that the police didn’t cite him for reckless driving. I, like so many others, feel lost in the injustices in our country and world lately and I’m struggling with how to handle myself in and around all of it. First thing we need to do is listen to one another, and that doesn’t happen online much. I’m working to change my own attitude, be more open to discussion and trying to see opposing viewpoints. It’s the only thing I have full control over. As ever, a work in progress. 😉

    Anyway – I hope you’re able to put this behind you and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Hugs and love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, beautiful friend. Although I still don’t have it in my heart to forgive this person, my parting words to him were, “Have a blessed Thanksgiving.” Fake it til you make it, I guess. I’m also working on my ability to listen and open my heart. A work in progress, for sure.

      Love to you. And I know salvation will be found in writing, in the making of art. We are lucky to have the outlet we do.

      xoxo Julie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You have a right to be outraged. Every right. But, but… Next time signal, pull over on the shoulder. and let the tailgater pass on by. This is grudging wisdom, all I have to give you after many an encounter of my own with tailgate hate. Give that person a friendly wave as he or she charges on. Because you’ve won.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Mark. Normally I would agree with you, had this occurred on a highway, say 101 to Hoodsport. But Sims Road isn’t conducive to this type of concession and there was no need for me to pull over to let him pass. Unfortunately, the police didn’t see the need to cite him for reckless driving or road rage, both of which were the case. So no one “won”.

      Like

  5. Oh, Julie – How beautifully you tell this frightening tale. Glad you’re okay. Can’t imagine your shock – and then the revolting words! Thank you, also, for the poem. “Music of looms weaving our loves again.” Wow!

    Like

  6. This is so typical of drivers these days. Good thing you weren’t hurt. We moved away from Calgary Alberta because the driving was becoming so horrible. This summer I went to Kelowna and the roads were treacherous: passing on double lines, on the inside, swerving, and this is on the Mountainous Golden highway. I love how you connected it with the election. Exactly. This is where such a sense of entitlement has brought us. Hope he gets slammed by his insurance!

    Lise Mayne

    Like

    1. Lise, thank you so much for the comment. I live in a small, easy-going, gentle community, which made this all the more shocking and upsetting. I don’t understand people. It’s so much easier to be kind.
      Peace to you!
      Julie

      Like

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