30 September 2008

driving miss merzy

2 completely pointless things i habitually do while driving:

1) i make wishes over railroad tracks. this started when i was 8 years old. my parents, in valiant efforts to turn their children into well-rounded future cheerleaders and maybe even cougarettes (pfffft), signed us girls up for dance classes. because they also hoped we'd be frugal cougarettes, they enrolled us in dance classes with a couple of schoolmates who lived nearby, thus promoting carpool collaboration. so every wednesday of 3rd grade (and continuing to 6th), we'd bring our spandex and tap shoes, change after school, and one of our mothers would taxi us over to the place of our rhythmic tutilage: tustin dance studio. to reach said facility we crossed over some train tracks. allison lowenstein, one of my dance buddies, would always touch her pinky to an exposed screw of the car interior, (usually inside a hanger hook) and lift up one foot (usually her right) as the mini-van flew over the tracks. allison explained that whenever you go over a railroad, if positioned and "at the ready," you could make a wish.

in them days, i was wishing for truckloads of things. a dog, for math to cease and desist in the whole "part of my life" way, that they would start making high heels to fit an 8 year old, and then that my mother would buy them for me, etc.

as an 8 year old, you have about as much control over your own daily destiny as a pet hamster. i think i got to pour my own milk at dinner, and chose my friends on the playground and after school, and...yep that's about it. so the idea, even a ridiculous one, that i could wield my own short term destiny was fantastic! while i knew it would help me in my math battles about as much as would wiggling my nose, it was strangely comforting to participate in railroad wishing all the same. i was all over it like white on rice.

there were ample railroad crossing opportunities. twice sundays to and from church, twice on wednesdays to and from dance, and any time i went to work with my dad. a minimum of 4 wishes per week?! my sisters caught on and any time there lay in the distance those candy cane levers, whether anticipated or on unchartered eaton territory, we'd go into a frenzy, trying to locate a screw to unite with our pinkies before it was too late. too late as in this little game turned into a do-or-die. it seemed that just as wishing on a train track brought increased chances for happiness in this life, to sit out on a railroad wish was sure to bring hellfire and brimstone. or at least we behaved as if that were true.

in time the near religious observance of the train track wishing well just turned into habit, and now it's more out of nostalgia for the days of yore. i just can't stop. true story.

2) i seem to behave as though there exists under the heavens such a thing as "driving karma." if i cut in front of people as they stack up and wait their turn to go right onto main from jamboree, i'll not take the closest available parking spot in my office garage. if i let people into my lane, especially if i do so more than once, than i feel entitled to the best spot i see. somehow, i don't think that this behavior is being recognized by any cosmic or higher power.

i never said this post was anything earth-shattering.

here's to world peace!

1 comment:

James McOmber said...

Sometimes at work I don't take the best spot. I figure I'm not late and I can walk, so maybe I'll save it for one of those old ladies who work across the floor.