I Believe in Tickets!
Yes, believe it or not I do believe in tickets. Let me tell you why. Over the July 4th holiday my daughter Laurel and her husband Jason invited me to their house in Harrisburg. They had planed to grill out on their new deck and invited their neighbors and a few of Laurel’s friends from college happen to live nearby. So, I put extra food down for the cats and headed mindless off on my little jaunt which I was hoping had a juicy steak at the end (sorry vegetarians). I practally live right on route 30 so I did what I always do and took 30 to Breezewood and then jumped on the Turnpike.
Now I do a lot of driving so when I get behind the wheel, especially on a longer trip, I get into a kind of zone and as I remember I had my Van Morison cranked up and was just enjoying the scenery. Lately I have been trying to keep my speed to around 55 in part for gas economy and on that day in particular I was aware that the police would be aiming to catch speeders. Well picture this ….there I am driving down the road, Van Morrison cranked up, I’m in my zone when I passed a police car. Moments before Laurel had called me to ask what my ETA was and so I was on the cell phone when I oassed the police car. Suddenly in my rear view mirror I saw the car quickly emerge with lights flashing and I felt my heart sink. I glanced down at the speedometer and thought “I wasn’t speeding” and then I said “Laurel is there some new cell phone law I’m no aware of”. “Why?” She said. I said “because I have a cop behind me with his lights on and I’m not speeding”…..and ….in that moment he moved into the passing lane and sped off down the road in front of me.
After I picked my heart up off the floor and the palpitations stopped, I thought back to the first ticket I had received when I was 19 years old. My friend Ed and I had been at the library and I was driving my brothers Cyclone GT ( not my little red VW that barely went over 50 MPH) and we were just cursing down the interstate talking and laughing and having a great 19 year old moment.
Again I saw a police car in my mirror and remarked to my friend that he must want to pass me (I was cursing in the left lane). Well, I confidently moved over to let him pass and my friend Ed looked backed and gave a rye smile and said “I think he wants you to pull over” He was right. Apparently I was doing 83 in a 60 zone….I had my first violation.
I’m sure by now you must be asking yourself “why is she telling these stories”…well my recent hart dropping moment made me think about how we do much the same thing in life. We get in our lane and we get in our zone and we give little thought as to how our actions or words might affect those around us and the world in general. Then I thought wouldn’t relationships be much easier if when someone was being rude or hurtful all we would have to do would be to whip out our book of tickets, note the offence and hand it to them.
Of course life doesn’t really work that way and so I guess what I am really believe in is trying to live in a way that is deliberate. This kind of behavior for most of us, myself included, is hard. It requires that we think a little more. It means that instead of walking around in a zombie state doing the same things over and over again, saying the same things to our kids, our parents, our co-workers or partners; it requires that WE STOP and give some thought as to what effect we are having on others. Deliberate living requires reflection instead of reaction. It requires being conscious instead of unconscious.
It’s much easier to live life not considering other peoples feelings or opinions and so difficult to be intentional about what we say and do. I think, part of that may be connected to accountability. If we truly had to be accountable for our words and actions much of what we do or say might change. What I have found as a manager is that if I go with my initial reaction I will most likely need to backtrack and nearly always end up apologizing.
I believe that our modern world has made us feel disconnected from humanity and from the earth itself.
I was talking with a friend recently and he asked me what invention I felt changed the world the most. I thought for a moment and I said airplanes. He said “no” … “ air conditioning”. He went on to explain that before air conditioning to keep cool in the evening everyone sat outside on their porch or in their yard and you felt like you were part of a community. I must say I have to agree. He said “I actually used to feel like I knew people”.
So why do I believe in tickets…..Because they remind us….we need to slow down, consider where we are going and realize that if we do, that “steak” at the end of our journey might just be bigger and more delicious than we could have ever imagined.