No matter what cute pair of heels, flip flops, or stylish boots I wear, I admit to having a heavy driver’s foot.
Although I regret the speeding tickets I’ve been issued over the past thirty years, I still regress and end up pushing the pedal past the speed limit. I am usually in a hurry, running late, and rushing around. This Speedy Gonazalez persona isn’t good for anyone.
Why is it so hard for me to slow down? I mean I am granted the same twenty-four hours that you are, but, perhaps, you are better at respecting the clock than I am.
I can blame my multi-tasking, busy lifestyle until midnight and then start all over again tomorrow with the same BS, but I know that you, busy friend, have your own checklists to get through too. Do you ever zoom around in the hectic, haphazard way like I do?
Even though home is my all-time favorite place in the world, it has been the source of my haste. There is always one more household and parenting task that can use my attention such as kids, pets, messes, dishes, laundry, checkbook, mail… Home: it’s where I’m never done doing.
As a teacher, my domestic life in the summers are busier than the school year, when I let things pile up. During summer break, I feel the pressure to cram as much as I can into ten-weeks. Days overflow with appointments, projects, activities, and rides for non-driving kids. When it’s back-to-school time, I’m rarely refreshed, resenting not relaxing. This has been my fault.
Now that we are in the midst of a global health crisis, and I don’t know when back-to-school time will happen again, my thoughts and actions are different, especially on the home front. Ten days ago, on Friday the thirteenth of March 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. On that day, in quick response, Governor Tom Wolf mandated that all of our Pennsylvania public schools close for two weeks (March 16 – March 27). What could I do as a teacher but support that decision? I didn’t bemoan the social distancing and was grateful to be in a profession that was vigilant about protecting students, co-workers, and myself from these dangerous germs.
With administrative permission, I went to my school to grab a few files and books and fill out a timesheet for my cyber and SAT classes. The parking lot had strategically placed orange cones, not to guide student drivers, but to prohibit entrance to certain doorways. It was eerie to enter an empty building on a Tuesday when the students should have been learning, laughing, socializing, or being scolded for teenage antics. I retrieved some things from my classroom, turned in my timesheet, and said, “See you in a couple weeks,” to the custodian, guidance counselor, and secretary in the office.
I left school fully realizing that this wasn’t a break but a quarantine.
During my thirteen-mile return to home, I got caught behind a leisurely driver who clocked in at 37 in a 45 MPH Zone. My lead foot nearly plunged the accelerator to cross the road’s white broken lines to pass, but then it spontaneously retracted. My foot flew nervously backwards like a tiny flapping hummingbird. My sneaker lightly touched down, nearly hovering and maintaining a two-second safe trailing distance behind.
That had to be more than the suggested six-feet-steer-clear-from-another-human separation, right? There was no heft left in my foot or haste in my heart. There was no bell ringing to tell me I would be late nor siren alerting me to another speeding ticket. There was just me treading cautiously behind the patient driver on a road to a slower journey in a world dramatically changing so much that I’m resigning to go 37 in a 45 MPH Zone.
Back home, there is no real pressure to do anything except stay put and just be. This concept of slowing down is a universal theme, a healthy warning, that I have to embrace with patience. I’m going to stay under the speed limit, away from the radar, and enjoy the ride of life as long as I can.
You can check out a previous blog where I didn’t slow down: Pull Over, Please.
I pray that as humanity slows down, so does the virus. Be safe, well, and shine on!