Friday, March 12, 2010

Not the first time

While peacefully enjoying my morning commute, as I normally do, driving at or below the speed limit, in the right lane, and zoning into the only 20 minutes of my day that is uninterrupted bliss, I notice in my peripheral vision something approaching from the right in my rear view mirror.

photo courtesy Clix

What the what is that? A guy (I think… actually he zooms by so quickly I honestly do not notice gender) in a blue Mazda scoots by me on the median. I suppose the cars passing me on my left are not doing it quickly enough. My first thought is to follow the car with my eyes, for he is sure to wreck. I do for a few seconds, and then he is gone. I hope to myself he gets caught, but know he probably will get away with his reckless behavior.

As I notice him pulling off the interstate at the next exit, it occurs to me that this is likely not the first time he has pulled this off and gotten away with it. I wonder what makes someone engage in such risky behavior in the first place. Is he that worried about being late? Worried enough to risk his and several other lives by driving like there are precious few seconds left before the road explodes? Does he have no fear?

That is when it hits me. He absolutely has no fear. Perhaps no conscience either, but that is a different matter. I am actually thankful this happened because it helped me to learn this: If you do something once, no matter how afraid you are, it will be much easier the next time, and even easier the next and the next. It will become so simple, that you can do it simply, and without a passing thought. It is not a matter of conquering fear at all. Do it once, then the next time you have to do the thing that used to seem so frightening before, you can say to yourself “I’ve done this before. I can do it again”.

From Fear to Love

1 comment:

Jen said...

Some guy tore past me like that and I immediately thought "son of a... what is he thinking?"

Then I realized there was a hospital nearby, and I thought "maybe he's rushing to the hospital" and I felt bad for the guy.

Then I thought as long as I was making up a story about him, it might as well be a good one. So I decided he was rushing to the hospital because his wife was having a baby. Then I felt happy for him.

When somebody does something - um, unordinary - my brain *really wants* to make up a story (it's evolution - can't fight that.) It's good to know that my brain is just as content with a story that makes me happy as a story that makes me mad.

So I love this "no fear" interpretation of the speedy median guy! What a great story to make up!