In our lives, we come across those opportunities to prove ourselves. We find ourselves in situations that bring out our true colors, showcase the qualities that rest deep down inside each of us. Put up against the harshest of circumstances, some of us shine while others are left weeping and wishing they had a much stronger tolerance for the intolerable.
Some people face this on the battle lines in a foreign land. Others rise to the occasion during natural disasters, saving hundreds or thousands of lives.
For some, this test is something we encounter every day.
Something as simple as traffic.
InKansas City, as in most cities, the roads are in a constant state of repair. They have a system very neatly set up so that once one road has been fixed, a process that should take a couple months but usually stretches out over the next five years, another one needs fixed. It is a never ending cycle of road reparation.
One of the main goals that theKansas Cityarea has dreamed up involves improving traffic flow. At many times, the main highways are so congested that you could actually get out of your car, walk to your destination, and come back to your car without anyone noticing. This tends to happen when one ofKansas City’s many idiotic drivers decide that the rules of lane changes do not apply to them, an event that seems to be a near daily occurrence.
Their latest attempt to improve this never ending headache involved blowing up a bridge. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but blowing up a bridge that people drive on everyday must, somehow, improve traffic.Kansas Citywould never do something that doesn’t make sense.
This was my thinking when I merged onto I-35 this morning, so imagine my surprise when the removal of a bridge had actually BACKED UP traffic.
The traffic reached for miles. Occasionally, we would move forward, reaching 15 miles per hour before slamming on our brakes and, once again, coming to a rest.
As a somewhat aware person, I had been prepared for this event. Signs had been up for weeks warning of this bridge destroying and it had been on every local news channel. Knowing full well that a road minus a bridge equals a lot of cars not being able to go where they want, I planned ahead. I grabbed my cup of coffee and headed out the door early.
Sitting on the interstate, though, it became apparent that I was the only one who had readied myself.
To my left sat a middle aged man in a suit. He drove a nice car and seemed very put together. I’m sure he was some professional with a job that involved yelling at underlings and telling his secretary to “get Jones on the line.”
I watched as this young professional screamed and threw his fists into the air like a child who has been told he will get no dessert.*
His arms flew and his mouth slung spit everywhere. I imagined him arriving at his office, tie doused in his own slobber as he tried to return to that calm, put together look that professionals have. Having a spitty tie would make that nearly impossible, particularly if there were any chewed up bits of his boring, adult cereal that had been left on his clothing.
His eyes grew wider and wider. I watched, intrigued. I had never seen a person have an aneurysm in front of me. The vein in his forehead definitely pointed towards this being the inevitable outcome.
Then, everything came to a stop. He glanced over at me and, realizing that I had just watched a grown man use his BMW interior as his own mobile panic room. He sunk very low in his seat, turning red and avoiding any opportunity to glance my direction.
There are three lessons that he learned today. First, plan ahead. If the city wisely decides to destroy roads, make sure you give yourself enough time to get on the highway. You can use the time waiting for traffic to move as a nice morning meditation time. Enjoy a nice cup of coffee and relax.
Secondly, windows are made of glass. Everyone can see you when you through them. You know how they say you shouldn’t throw rocks in glass houses? There are a bunch of other things you shouldn’t do in them either. Avoid those.
Lastly, always bring an extra tie. You never know when you’ll angrily spray your mouth goo all over it.
*The English language can be funny. If you were to tell a kid he could have no desert instead of no dessert, it would have an entirely different and much more pleasant meaning. Any kid who would throw a fit about not getting desert is a weirdo.