Google+ Badge

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Wish I Had A Dollar!

Here's what happens: you're sitting in your car waiting for the red light to turn green. The person next to you, who is not in the left turn lane, is inching forward, eager to get going. The left turn light switches from red to green and the eager driver starts forward, catching themselves just before they get too far into the intersection. You heave a sigh of relief for two reasons. One is that you weren't the one who jumped the gun, and the second (and most important) is that there was no accident.

That's sort of what happened the other day and inspired me to write this post. We were sitting at a red light, surrounded by people who kept inching forward, eager for the light to change to green. I wondered which car was going to bolt into the intersection when the turn light went green. Suddenly I was chuckling to myself and thinking that I wished I had a dollar for every time I almost jumped the gun in the same way. I'm sure I'd have a few several a bundle of dollars. I think it's just human nature to get lost in your thoughts from time to time. Unfortunately if you do it behind the wheel of a car, you might catch the flash of green from the turn light and think it's your turn to fly on down the road. Luckily, though, almost all of the time we catch ourselves before any problems arise.

It reminded me of when I first started driving. I was very ill-equipped to handle a car. I wasn't allowed to get my driving permit until a week before my eighteenth birthday, and it expired a week later on that birthday. With only a week of learning under my belt, I was forced to take the written test (100%) and then get in the car with a stranger and take the driving portion of the test. As I feared, I failed miserably. Although it was a very unpleasant experience for me and I cried a lot, it really shouldn't have surprised anyone that a couple of hours behind the wheel was not enough time to learn how to drive.

When I began driving, it was a very stressful experience. Again, no surprise, considering my lack of training. It was the weird things that can happen when you're driving that surprised me the most. I distinctly remember a time when I took Gram through the drive-through at her bank. There were several lines of cars waiting for their opportunity to get their turn. I sat and chatted with Gram while we gradually got closer to the front of the line. Suddenly I felt like there was something wrong with my car. It was rolling backward! I said to Gram that my car was rolling backward while I slammed on the brakes, trying to stop myself from having an accident. Gram said nothing, but she knew it was just some variation on vertigo or something. The car next to me had rolled forward and convinced my brain that my car was rolling back. My body even felt the movement! That's another thing I wish I could have the dollars for. Although for the sheer discombobulation involved, I think those incidents should have a value of five dollars each. Especially since they are a slightly rarer occurrence.

There's a heap of other things that I wish I could have a dollar for. One is something I have suffered from for years, the "I thought about doing it, so it must already be done" syndrome. Luckily for me, this has a much smaller impact on me these days than it did in the pre-computer era. I really do wish I had a dollar for every time I thought about writing a check and mailing it to pay a bill. Sometimes the check was not written, and others the check was written and put in a stamped envelope and languished in my purse for a day or three. Thank goodness for online bill payments!

Not all of the wish I had a dollars are for bad things, though, and I am obviously using the word bad very lightly. These things I've described are not by any means horrible, and the truly bad things that have happened to me are most certainly worth more than a dollar each. But I also wish I had a dollar for every time I saw something in a movie or television show that had this I-am-the-meanest-woman-in-the-world-but-am-tender-hearted-nonetheless crying. Between that and weeping until the top of my shirt was soaked with tears at a book I was reading, I think I might be able to take a nice vacation. If you added the times I cried when I was overwhelmed by beauty, an example being my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, I could also afford to eat while on this vacation. And even order dessert.

If I had a dollar for every time my heart leapt with joy at the beauty of a blue sky filled with brilliantly white clouds or almost beat out of my chest at dark, forbidding grey ones? If I had a dollar for every time I was enchanted by the blossoms on trees in spring and the birds flying above them singing to their mates? My sheer delight at seeing a squirrel close enough to be able to tell that she was still a nursing mother? Seeing a magnificent swan swimming on a pond in Florida? Hearing a beautiful song or the voices of people I care for or love? If I had a dollar for all of the beautiful moments that this life continues to give me, I would be able to do so many things to help others. I'd be able to feed children and adults and save puppycats and kittydogs and make the world an even more beautiful place.

I don't have a dollar for all of the things I have described, but I do have a heart and mind that are full of these experiences. If I try very hard, maybe I can make the world a more lovely place for the others around me by sharing them. And, when I am able, helping someone who really wishes they had a dollar.