Signs

Wednesday, November 18

While yesterday was my first day back at work, today would be my first day commuting into the office.

I’ve made the commute from Billerica to Boston nearly every workday since 2008, but this commute is different.

The commute is something I’ve always hated.  That’s harsh, but accurate.

I hated and resented every minute spent going back and forth.  Whether stop and go, easy breezy, or damn-well parked, I always felt those miles from door-to-door were mocking me.

You’re an idiot for buying outside the city.

Stupid, you missed your window to avoid the unavoidable traffic jams.

You’re wasting time.  You’re so behind and all you’re doing is wasting time getting where you’re going.

That last one nearly killed me.

Right before I gave in to taking a leave and opening myself up to receiving real help, I took a 90-minute conference call through out my entire morning commute.  By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was off the phone, but still completely distracted.

How are you going to make this work?

You’ll never be able to figure this out!

You’re worthless.  Completely, worthless.  And worthless people lose…everything.

Then, BAM!

The sound itself hurt.

I didn’t really know what had happened until I pressed the button for my ticket, waited for the barrier to rise, entered the lot, and hastily pulled in to the first spot I could find.

I got out of my car, walked around the the passenger’s side (the side I hit) and saw that my sideview mirror was missing.  I walked up to the front of the lot where the accident had occurred, to find the missing mirror and make the parking attendant aware of any broken glass, but there was nothing there.

No glass.  No dented cars.  No mirror.

I went up to the attendant sitting in the small booth just a few yards away from where this, thing, had happened.

“I hit something, I don’t think it was a another car.  But my side mirror fell off and there might be glass, but I don’t see anything.”

“Yes, okay,” he said. “You’re fine.  No problem.  Okay?”

I knew he didn’t understand what I’d said, but I was desperate for a, “no, problem,” and for anyone to consider me in any way, “okay.”

“Okay,” I said, relieved and bewildered.

When I got back to my car I decided that I would just drive home, even though I had a meeting to get to.  And, when I pulled out of the spot, that’s when I heard it.

Clank.

Not as loud or painful as the BAM! But enough to still get my shaky attention.  I put the car back in park, jumped out, and raced to the other side (afraid, I think, of missing something, again).

And there it was, my sideview mirror, dangling by the ends of two wires.  As my eyes followed it down almost to the bottom of the passenger’s side door, I noticed bold streaks of yellow…all the way from the hanging busted mirror to the back tire.

Yellow?

I turned again to get a clear view of the lot entrance, and there I find my yellow.  Two big parking posts, cemented into the ground, designed to protect the beautiful automobiles peacefully in place on the other side.

I’m thankful for the damage to my car – that it’s not so bad that I can’t drive it back up 93.  But I’m more devastated than anything else.  It’s the first time it occurs to me that I’ve been mindlessly operating heavy machinery, for…for God only knows how long.

I’ve somehow worked myself up into such a state that I totally believed that it was okay to transform my car, my commute, my full attention into a mobile office.

It was a clear sign that someone was going to get hurt.  Hell, someone already had.

Before today, that was my last trip down these roads and into this lot, and at various times over the last eight weeks, even thinking about attempting this ride again sent me racing for the Xanax.

But today, no such drug is required.

Thanks to the glorious audiobooks section at my local library, my commute is spent with Dr. Wayne Dyer, followed by a little Simon and Garfunkel, and last (but certainly not least) a comforting live jam session courtesy of the Dave Mathews Band, who reminds me that I actually do want to, stay, stay, stay, stay, stay for awhile.

I make it in on time.  I feel good walking in.  Spending the day.  Contributing to a meaningful organization that is committed to helping kids overcome early childhood trauma.

And when I leave (on time and in tact), I am struck by a piece public art revealed to me for the very first time.  A huge and gorgeous mural.  The entire side of a stories high building painted the same exact hue of turquoise that I often see at the end of my Reiki sessions…with beautiful bold, orange (my favorite color of all time) letters that spell out:

A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER.

I breathe deeply and make a humble offering of gratitude.

That sign may not have been intended for me…but it was.

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