I Drove In a Storm That Gave Me Anxiety and Perspective

October 13, 2014 was a very stressful day.

I would’ve shared my day with y’all, but this website was under construction at the time. Alas, I dumped my thoughts onto an iPhone note and waited (semi) patiently.

Back to my stressful day.

If you live in the ATL, do you remember anything about 10/13/14? Maybe something to do with excessive amounts of water being poured out from above? There was a monsoon. Well, at least it felt like a monsoon. Especially from where I was sitting: in my car + on the highway.

So there I was, driving on I-85 in a monsoon. Thanks to the rain, my view from the driver’s seat was pretty rough. The one thing I could see, however, was that several cars had pulled over. Instead of following their lead and playing it safe, I, for once in my life, chose the more riskier option.

I kept driving.

Trying my darndest to avoid blinking, I zeroed in on the white lines – my saving grace in my quest to stay in my lane. Before too long, my hand was cramping from gripping the steering wheel so tightly.

Oh- did I mention I had to go 19.8 miles? Yeah. Everyone (especially me – I’m not that risky) was going between 35-45 mph. So when you factor in that speed to my monsoon journey equation, 19 miles is a really, really, really long way to go.

I do this really weird thing. (No, not that thing the other thing. No, the other one. Not that– fine. I do a lot of really weird things.)

When emotions pile up and I get a little to a lot freaked, I laugh. My smile takes over my face, and it’s stuck there turning me into one of those creepy dolls. I can usually tell how serious a situation is based on how much I’m laughing.

  • A few chuckles = it’s gonna be okay.
  • Solid (but spaced out) laughs = I should start worrying.
  • Unstoppable laughter = seriously, lex, you should be crying.

My laughter on 10-13-14 was somewhere between the last two levels.

17 miles left.

As I kept on keeping on down the highway, the super risky (see also: stupid) human beings of the world raced past me leaving my windshield & me covered in droplets. I couldn’t see ANYTHING. The lights went out, but it was still light. Weird.

15 miles left.

I turned on some Ingrid Michaelson because 1) why not 2) her music is the perfect companion for a storm.

12 miles left.

On 85. Going 30 mph. Did I mention the monsoon?

I kind of wanted to spin out of control just so I wouldn’t have to endure the misery. But, then I’d go under a bridge or highway or some type of infrastructure, and for 2.7 seconds I was covered. I could see. Those 2.7 seconds were some of the loveliest seconds I’ve ever encountered. (And I’ve eaten gelato in Italy so that’s saying something.) I never wanted them to end, but even in my miniature heaven, I could see the rain waiting to attack and latch onto the glass shield protecting me.

10 miles to go.

More wind. Don’t get me wrong- I love me some wind, but seriously? Is it really necessary right now?

Oh, thanks dude in the pumped up truck for splashing me! I appreciate it, buddy! So sweet of you to think of me 🙂

8 miles left.

“Are We There Yet” (by Ingrid Michaelson… have you not been paying attention?!) starts playing, and it underscores my current predicament perfectly. I can’t wait to be there, and by “there” I mean the glorious exit 108.

7 miles.

I try not to laugh.

6 miles.

I laugh uncontrollably.

5 miles.

I’ve brought the laughter down to just giggles. Hallelujah, I must be getting close.

3… 

2…

1…

I finally make it right as the song ends of course. So poetic it hurts.

Where did I go as soon as I got off that exit? Fresh Market where I purchased a trail mix of glory bits. (Dried bananas are my crack.)

Storms? Not a fan.

Unless I’m inside, snuggled up with a blanket, watching a feel-good film, & stuffing my face with chocolate coated something. But heaven forbid the power goes out and turns my movie off. That will not go over well.

So basically, I’m cool with storms as long as they’re not affecting me. Sounds about right.

I’d bet a lot of money that you agree with me (at least on some level).

For the current storm troopers: I’m really sorry you’re in a storm. It sucks, and I hate it for you. But don’t forget about the pit stops (like Fresh Market) that come along. And sometimes, extra lanes to your right appear just in time to save you from having to change lanes or exit. Those are cool. Take advantage of the little gifts you run into. Let yourself be helped & happy even if it’s just for 2.7 seconds.

Focus on the white lines.

For the blanket snuggling, chocolate eating, film watchers: Make some popcorn. Eat another piece of chocolate. Enjoy the warmth. Revel in it. But if you know other human beings that are stuck in a storm, go find them. You may not be able to take them home with you, but you can pass the popcorn & break off a piece of chocolate. You can stay on the phone with them to make sure they keep moving no matter how slowly.

Do not hog the blankets.

Like I said, October 13, 2014 was a very stressful day.

 

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