Reflecting at Red

Reflecting at Red

I miss having a car to drive – but not for the reasons you might think. Sure it’d be nice to be able cruise down the highway with my partners in crime… Although now that I think about it, being one of the few freshman with a car would do wonders for my social creds…But I’ve found that my most enjoyable joyriding experiences have been when I’m alone, driving the winding, vacant roads at evening time with only two voices to listen to – my own, and whatever oldies band is blaring on JACK FM.

Here, in the interior of what I refer to as my “time machine” I find it something of a sanctuary. Outside of it, I’m always on the go with somewhere to be and a long to-do list to execute. Yet ironically at the same time, I want to be able to press pause for awhile and just be.

I occasionally read the site Makes Me Think, which posts motivational links to read through and be inspired by. On one of the postings, a really great point was made –we want time to stop for long enough to take a breather, yet find ourselves getting frustrated at the littlest things that throw us off schedule. Why do we not, at the moments when we are deterred by a red light, an hour-long layover, or God forbid, a line at the DMV comparable to the line at Disneyland for the Matterhorn, consider those pausing periods allotted by fate?

Now that a little over 80 miles separates me and the time machine, I don’t have my old “stoplight moments.” Instead, I wait begrudgingly for the trolley to transport me from east to west campus – along with the rest of the school at the same trolley stop. When it comes to scoring a ride on the trolley, it’s a matter of every man for himself. And understandably, the general code of chivalry becomes irrelevant. “Ladies first?” How droll.

When I got out of my 4:10 class last week, my heart dropped as I watched one of the only trolleys that actually runs during the late afternoon pull away from the stop. I hadn’t run fast enough to catch it, and now had to weigh two possible options: 1) Wait 15 minutes for the next one, or 2) do some unofficial endurance training and walk to east campus with all my luggage on my person. Guess which option I chose.

On that particularly cold day, I situated myself into sunny spot on the concrete stairs awaiting hell on wheels. No really, it actually is hell on wheels. It’s like fitting two classrooms-worth of people into one enclosure and trying not to get sat on. Especially by the one dude wearing copious amounts of AXE. Not that that has ever happened to me…not at all.

Then I had a horrible yet oddly comforting realization, depending on how you look at it. My problems will always be waiting for me. No need to rush, they’re not going anywhere while I’m gone. See? Horrifying and reassuring. But at that moment, I could cloud-gaze and let that little voice in my head repeat to me things such as “It will all be irrelevant two years from now” and “When you die, you won’t be remembered for the things you didn’t do, but the things you did do.”

No, Bowling for Soup, you can’t “stop the world.” Or melt with me, for that matter. Nor can I stop the world. But when it stops me with a red light, I take it as permission from the universe to take two before going into a sprint again.

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