My Wordspace

A dumpster full of various musings over life, God, scripture, and any random thought that may fly by meanwhile. Comments welcome.

When Life Slows Down… Finally

Posted by Iszi on July 20, 2004

Greetings Readers.

 

Sorry for the short hiatus again, but as my previous post mentioned, work has been starting to wear me down a good deal.  Finally, though, with last night being night number 13, my work week is over.  BL stopped in during the shift to say that she should be able to make it tonight, so I at least have one day off for sure.

 

So, having worked for almost two weeks solid, and been (trying) to keep up with my usual church-related commitments in the meantime (only one of which I called off – that was last night’s cell group meeting and setup for TLR), I was really looking forward to my wife’s arrival so that I could just plop in the car and relax on the way home, then proceed to my bedroom for a good, long crash before TLR tonight.  Seems God had other plans for my day.

 

I called home to let my wife know I was ready for her to come get me, only to have her ask if I could take the bus instead.  She’d been out the majority of last night (until just before I had to go to work) with a friend at a funeral for one of their family members, then the rest of the night trying to stay asleep despite fighting cats at our door, and a fussy baby in the crib.  So, she wasn’t in the greatest waking condition to drive out to get me.  I relented, and went out to wait for the bus.

 

So, let’s look at how my morning was changed and what I was thinking about it:

 

Originally, I would have had to wait about 20 minutes inside the air-conditioned store for my wife to arrive to pick me up for a 10-minute ride home, during which I would have to do little more than sit in the passenger seat and possibly respond to a few questions regarding my night at work.

 

Now, I had to go out in the lovely humid Florida morning, to wait for an indeterminate (up to a half-hour) amount of time on a wooden bench that was wet with morning dew and surrounded by ant holes, for a bus to come get me.  (Eventually, I gave up battling the onslaught of the ants, and went to sit on a nearby storm drain.)  When the bus would come, I would have to get on, fish out $1.25 to feed to the fare machine, then sit down and maintain my awareness enough to know when to pull the stop cord.  After that, I would have to choose from waiting for the next bus on the second route I’d have to take, which could be up to an hour, or walk about 1.5-2 miles the rest of the way home, again in the humid weather of an overcast Florida summer morning shortly after sunrise.  After I would get off the second bus (should I choose to wait for it in the first place) I would still have about a quarter of a mile to walk home.

 

Needless to say, this did not sound good to my body at all.  In fact, it sounded like the most wrong way anyone could think of to end a 13-day work week, when a better alternative was available.  Quite to the contrary, however, it ended up being a very fitting way to end such a week.

 

So, let’s look at how the morning actually went:

 

I went out to the stop, took one look at the bench, and had just enough presence of mind to put my jacket down first, then sit on top of it, to avoid a wet bottom from the morning dew on the bench.  Sitting there, thinking about the journey home that was ahead of me, I looked down to notice that my feet were planted quite firmly in the middle of several ant-holes, from which a steady flow of ants came and went, going about their business.  Then, I noticed some of those ants (well, duh) had chosen to use my feet as a part of their travel routes, as long as I was there.  Just great, I thought.  After sweeping some ants off with my hands, then just kicking my feet around to try to shake them off, I looked for a better place to plant them while I sat at the bench.  Finding none, I gave up and sat atop a storm drain nearby.  There were still ants on the concrete, but they were few and far between.

 

There I sat, until the bus came.  After I got on the bus and approached the fare machine, the driver closed the doors and started moving along again.  I had barely even had a chance to pull out my wallet to get the dollar bill.  Nimrod, I thought at the bus driver, Don’t you know it’s against the law for you to move this bus until I’m past that little white line behind you?  Fortunately, having used my bicycle as a primary form of transportation numerous times in the past, I had a good enough sense of balance that it did not affect me too much, and I was able to pay the fare and sit down.  There, I looked up to the TV monitors to amuse myself with the latest news coming from the bus’ sattelite feed from the Transit Television Network.  The screen display (possibly the satellite feed itself was flawed, who knows) was distorted just enough that some words were readable, but the overall message that was trying to be conveyed was beyond legibility.  Fortunately, this was the shorter portion of my commute, so I didn’t have to tolerate the boredom much longer.

 

After I got off, I found myself just slightly hungry enough to feel the need to snack on something quick.  I considered my options as I walked along:  McDonalds?  No, that’s the one BL fell at, and furthermore I wasn’t in the mood to walk into one of my former workplaces just at that moment.  Wendy’s?  Heck no, the service at that one is consistently horrible, and I’ve never much liked the food itself anyway.  Besides, they looked closed.  The new Dunkin’ Donuts across the street (the only other fast-food option along my path) hasn’t been opened yet, so that’s a definite no-go.  Bummer.  The only place along the way that would have anything now that may remotely suit my palette was a Walgreens on the next corner I had to turn.

 

So, I walked through the parking lot of Walgreens, and as I approached the entrance area I noticed a few policemen standing rather conspicuously by the doorway.  Now what? I thought.  As I drew closer, a man came out and was calmly surrounded by the policemen as he ranted about the manager (who was not far behind him) having something against him because he was homeless.  Carefully distancing myself from the situation as I entered, I found no opposition to my going in the store and proceeded to the other end of the store where their vault was.  The soda section was rather bare, especially in the one-liter size category.  I turned to the manager, who was returning to his office just past me, and asked “Are you out of Mountain Dew Code Red one-liters?”  (The only soda and size I drink.)  He politely informed me that his store was discontinuing them.  Just lovely.  I thanked him for the information, and proceeded on, noting they carried Hersheys milkshakes, which I also liked.

 

Hungry for a candy bar now, I went to check out that section before I actually got my drink.  Nothing particularly jumped out at me, so I went to browse other aisles for some odd reason.  I found myself in the stationery section looking at highlighters, which I needed for my Bible.

 

At this point, my mind and mood finally started to actually slow down and I could breathe, although I did not realize this until a good bit later.  They didn’t have any highlighters that made particular mention of being suitible for Bibles or thin paper in general, so I looked around some more just to see what was there.  Then my eyes settled on a protractor.  I rememered my art now, and how I used to enjoy it.  I do not draw art and pictures in the usual sense.  Rather, I draw a particular type of geometric design, and transform it into various forms to (often only vaguely) represent other objects and/or artistic expressions.  It’s kind of difficult to explain without showing, but the whole thing really just requires a pencil, ruler (preferrably a transparent standard/metric combo, with measurements as small as 1/16 in. on the standard side, and millimeters on the metric), and protractor (also preferrably transparent, and as small as possible).  A pen is also nice to finalize the drawing with.  Oh yeah, paper is also a necessity.  Preferrably graph paper.  And a nice notebook to keep it in.

 

With these thoughts in mind, I looked around for these things that would be needed for me to be able to indulge myself in my psuedo-artistic expressions once again.  Finding the supplies to total much more than what I had on hand, I remembered the 14 hours’ overtime that would be on my next paycheck.  Yeah, now I’ve got something to look forward to with that.

 

Done with my browsing, I went and picked up the milkshake I wanted (Cookies and Cream, yummay!) and found a 3 Musketeers bar in the candy aisle, paid, and exited the store.  By this time the police had gone, and I figured I likely had missed the bus one way or another, or the wait would bore me to death if I hadn’t, so I resigned myself to walking.  This is what turned my morning totally around.

 

You see, when you walk to and from places, or even take your bike, instead of just going in a car or a bus (or anything capable of exceeding 20 MPH with just the touch of a pedal or button or twist of a handle), you notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise.  The whole world just kinda slows down so you can experience more of it if you want to.

 

The first thing I noticed was that I started smelling things.  On my way past a school, I smelled a perfume (likely not even coming from the school at this time) that reminded me of how someone smelled one time on a first day back at school.  Back when the first day of school, although marking the first day of the more tormentuous portion of the year, was still a day of freshness, a day marking a new start.  A day to see friends not seen in the past few months.

 

Working my way through a neighborhood, I smelled the water coming from the sprinklers in a lawn across the street.  This smell was particularly amplified by the humidity of an atmosphere soon to have a rainstorm.  (Which, surprisingly, hasn’t happened yet – It’s been about two hours now.)  This reminded me of how cool the day actually was, being overcast as it was, instead of being clear-skied with the sun blazing overhead.  It also reminded me of carefree days playing in sprinklers in our yard, or in a neighbor’s pool.  Sometimes to live in the past for a moment is just bliss.

 

A couple blocks later, I noticed the smell of a freshly-cut lawn.  Although I remembered how my own yard needed mowing, the thought more prominently in my mind at the moment was of days when mowing that yard was the worst of my dreads and concerns, yet this was the perfect weather to have been doing it in.  Just before a storm, when the air is cool and there’s a slight breese now and then to enjoy.  Okay, so the air today was rather stagnant, but a breeze could be imagined.

 

The second thing I found myself noticing more than I would in a car, was the things that I heard.  One that particularly stands out in my mind was the sound of wind chimes coming from someone’s front porch.  Not only was I able to hear this sound once, but I was able to enjoy it for probaly three minutes or so, before I walked out of range of it.  Birds singing along the way were also nice.

 

Another thing that happens when you take a walk is you meet people.  They may or may not end up being of much significance in your life or your day, but they are interesting to meet nonetheless.  Today’s person was a landscaper working on a yard across the road from where I was walking.  His truck and trailer were parked on the side of the road I was on, and I greeted him as he came across the street to pick up a leaf-blower.  I commented on the nice weather, to which he responded “It almost makes you want to work, eh?”.  I told him I was actually just getting off, and smiled when he said “Then it makes you want to enjoy the rest of the day, doesn’t it?”.

 

So, I started the morning thinking this was the worst way to end the day, when in fact there was not really any other way that would have been more appropriate.  As my life begins to slow down for a couple days, after nearly two long weeks of work, so do I get to experience the feeling of life in general at a slower speed than normal.  A speed that’s enjoyable rather than effecient.  A relaxing speed, with the feeling that you’ve got all the time in the world to spend just sucking in the universe around you in all its goodness.  Sure there’s the not-so-nice parts, like a beer can halfway lost among overgrown bushes on a less-than-cared-for piece of land off the side of the road, but all of it has some life to it, and it is all – for better or worse – God’s creation, and it all belongs to Him who loves the world.

 

For a related post, follow this link to another blog, which I commented on earlier last month.  It’s the same I referenced in another post, so if you already looked you might want to save yourself some reading and skip it.

 

Tonight, as usual, is The Living Room.  After that, I may post again if I have the energy.  There’s still so much to report about the past few days, but I just wanted to dedicate this post to my experience today of life at a different pace.  You should try it sometime.  If you’ve only got a few miles to go, try walking/biking to work, or school, or some other location you’ll be going to.  Keep your senses keen, and be aware of the world around you.  You’ll be amazed by some of the things you see, even if it is everyday stuff.  When you have the time to see those kinds of things, and the time to think about them as you go along, great stuff just comes to mind that you would never think of otherwise.  It sounds funny in those words, I know, but I can’t think of any clearer way to put it.  You really have to experience the feeling yourself to understand.

 

– Iszi

 

Song of the Moment:  Jaci Velasquez – Every Time I Fall

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