DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2004-01-20 - 8:49 a.m.

The most important thing I have learned in my years on this earth came about from driving on winter roads. I remember the day very well. I was going to work, it was about 3:30 in the afternoon. We had received a generous helping of snow that day and the roads were a slushy mess. I had a shitty car with shitty tires and I was remembering fondly my car previous that was still a shitty car with shitty tires but for some reason would plow though any snow covered road like it was perfectly clear. I couldnít keep my car on the road very well, so I had to go pretty slow. I could see the guy in back of me, in a SUV, getting really agitated. I knew he was bitching about me, saying, ďFucking stupid people donít know how to drive in the snow.Ē Which is what all of us say, at one time or another, when stuck behind some slow mother fucker on snow covered roads. I wanted desperately to get out of the car and tell this guy that my car just wouldnít GO on these roads, that every time I increased my speed I would start sliding off the road. Finally he passed me, spewing snow all over my windshield and making me blind to the very road I was trying to traverse. His car had no trouble getting down the road. He sped away in a cloud of snow and glory.

Even though my car was just fine on regular roads, put a little snow on them and it was totally ineffective. I did not have a vehicle that could get me to point B from point A easily.

In that moment, when that guy sped past me, I realized that humans are much like cars on snowy roads. Some of us are equipped to handle certain wrenches thrown in the road better than others. It doesnít mean those people are stupid mother fuckers. It just means they are different. Just like running out of money hardly fazes me, it might make another person want to jump off a bridge. Itís a difference in how we are wired, just like the ability to get through snow in a car depends on how the car is built and how it is equipped. I got better tires for my car, after that day, and it went much better, though still not as good as my other car. I knew it would never go as well as my other car did, just like I know now that even if I try to fix everything that really bothers me immensely and hinders my life, it will never go as smoothly for me as it does for other people because they are built and wired to let certain things go by without notice. I understand that I will always be irritated beyond reason by people being late and having to wait for them. Even if I do every thing I can to make sure it doesnít happen (I donít make a lot of definite plans because once you tell me a certain time I am going to expect you to be there right then, not early, not late, so I just ask people to say, ďIíll be there between certain time and certain time.Ē And in the case of people being late for work EVERY SINGLE DAY, I make sure to tell them how much it annoys me and I tell them WHY it annoys me.) there will always be someone who is late. While most people I know donít care about lateness, I do. Iíve accepted that I will never get over my irritation about lateness. Iíve also accepted that some people donít give a shit at all about it and so I try not to freak out. And when this girl I work with gets irrationally upset because there arenít five million waters made, I try to remember that she is just wired differently and to her, the waters are an important thing. I try to keep up on the waters, as irrational as it might be, because I know how it feels to focus on something. I know that if those very waters arenít arranged in straight lines I canít work very well until I have put them in straight lines. As insane as that might be, it is just something I cannot overcome. So I honor it.

Anyway. I learned that day not to make rash judgments on people until I knew the situation very well. I learned that yes, there are some people that are just dumb mother fuckers that donít know how to drive in the snow. And I learned that there are people that DO know how to drive in the snow, but are just ill equipped to do so. That realization makes me remember, in ever situation, to take a look around before making some snap opinion about someone. It made me the kind of person that will honor every personís quirks. I know one of the busboys at work goes insane if they silverware are not facing downwards on the buscart. He hates that because if they arenít all facing down when they go through the dishwasher, they donít get very clean, and when they come out the busboy has to spend extra time making them face the right direction to go into the silverware container. So, by all of us just putting the dirty silverware in the cart, downwards, we save the busboy a lot of time. But some busboys donít care. It is just a matter of how we are wired which makes us all respond differently to different situations. And I always try to remember that.

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