Thursday, March 3, 2016

Oblivious Driving--I Think Not!

Recently a friend of mine described my driving as oblivious, carefree and sweet--all in the same breath.  I must admit, when someone is in my car and we are having a conversation, driving becomes automatic.  Oblivious--not so much.  At least I don't think so.  Carefree and sweet--well possibly.

Today's driving conditions didn't allow for anything but careful attention.  Winter driving can be very unpredictable in upstate New York.  And today's commute changed throughout the drive.   I have chosen to work in a school that is about 75 minutes from my home.  I am a good long-distance driver, contrary to my friend's oblivious comments.  The commute gives me time to listen to music or news and have think time.  (I have been known to put on make-up and do other things that didn't happen at home because of a late alarm.  That's not oblivious, is it?)  Today's hour and 15 minute commute took an extra hour.  And for much of the commute, there was no space for anything but rapt attention.   (Plus taking a few pictures along the way...careful turned to carefree?) The drive started out with a light snow, which turned into a heavy snow, which turned into a white out, which turned into hail, which turned into ice, which by the time I arrived in my school parking lot, turned into sunshine.

Sometimes, if I am observant and reflective about the events in my life, the shift in my attitude about the very same event can change as dramatically as the weather conditions of my morning commute.   A  typical school day can mirror these conditions.  Take today, for instance.  I walk into school, stressed from the long commute.  My attitude is one of light snow.  I am focused but I notice my stress.  I open my computer and see that I have a pressing deadline and a full schedule.  The snow turns heavy.  A teacher comes into my office needing something immediately.  My school day, only forty-five minutes into it, becomes a full-blown blizzard.  Hmmmm.  Do I go on into oblivion?  Or do I stop and refocus?

I shut my door, I take five deep breaths and stop.  This action, by itself, stops the blizzard.  Hail and ice dissipate as I separate the urgent from the important and think about how best to tackle a given problem.  Choosing an urgent task over an important one, because of a deadline, allows me to focus.  Completing the task allows success.  My day turns sky blue.  An assembly with children singing, reading and dancing creates spring like conditions, as I roll down the windows of my day and breathe in the fresh air.

In life, like when driving, the conditions change and we have a choice to be ready to respond to the conditions with which we are presented.   We can choose oblivion and the conditions only build up.  A little bit of reflection creates a focus for which the important is tended to and the urgent can be addressed without stress.  All of which allows for carefree joy when engaging in the conversations of our life.  How sweet is that?

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers community, for your promotion of this March Writers' Challenge.  Thank you for giving writers and educators a forum for writing and responding to other writers.


  1. I really enjoyed your journal of thoughts & feelings about your day linked to the weather. I admire how you were able to clear your head and refocus and see the beautiful blue sky. Well done.

  2. Interesting and somewhat anxiety-producing post. I admire you for being able to close your door and concentrate under such conditions! True words of wisdom about life - much appreciated!

  3. I love the way you turned your day into the weather you experienced in your commute.

  4. What a commute! Glad everything turned out well, though - and thanks for the atmospheric pictures.

  5. What a commute! Glad everything turned out well, though - and thanks for the atmospheric pictures.

  6. You Upstate NYers have a toughness that us City folk will never have. Although we slog through snow in boots and get splashed-on by taxis, it's not the same as driving through feet of snow on a regular basis.

    Glad you're safe!