Saturday, June 11, 2011

Losing Cruise Control

The other night I was zipping down the freeway on my home, the left lane clear ahead of me. I'd just exited one interstate and slid onto another, picked up speed again and hit the cruise control button on my steering wheel. When I took my foot off the accelerator, the van slowed down. I sped up and hit the cruise again. Same result....four more times. Mice learn faster than I do sometimes. "Damn it," I said aloud. "My fucking cruise control won't work. It just figures."

I was distracted and thinking about a conversation I'd just had: a difficult, uncomfortable conversation. The night was so much fun in the beginning: drinking in a pub and listening to a three-kid combo cover old rock standards. Walking around a ritzy outdoor mall barefoot in the summer heat afterwards, holding hands, talking. Sitting on a park bench watching people walk by.....a perfect evening. And then I had to go and change the mood by talking about some things that were bothering me. I really hate these kinds of conversations, especially when I'm bringing the shit up and the other person doesn't seem to know what's going on or doesn't have a problem. Actually, I'd intended to talk about those things a couple of other times the week before, but I was having such a good time I didn't want to ruin it. As I drove home, I wasn't sure I was happy with my decision to do it that night either. I wondered if I should have just swallowed my feelings and focused on what was working.

I finally stopped pushing the cruise control button and looked at the dashboard to see if I could determine what was wrong. And that's when I noticed I was going 77 a 55 zone. Whoops. When I turned off the other interstate I'd just resumed the same speed--pretty stupid given the number of times I've traveled these highways. I let up on the gas and as the van started to slow, I noticed a car with no headlights pulling across the median and onto the left shoulder. I touched my brakes as the highway patrolman picked up speed and merged in front of me. Just my luck, I thought. I'm busted. Good thing my cruise control didn't work or I'd have been going faster though.

It's kind of funny how losing my cruise control paralleled the decision I'd made that night about having that hard conversation. I'd been cruising along, picking up speed, trying to ignore some things that had happened even as my intuition told me something was wrong. Something would happen and I'd try to hit the cruise control and keep going, living in the moment, going along for the ride. When I finally started paying attention, something bigger that I couldn't ignore pulled in front of me, and I had to do what I thought was the right thing: stop and confront some of the issues. It wasn't comfortable and, just like I didn't want that cop in front of me, I didn't want to be the one spoiling the good times. I could have chosen not to, but that would have hurt me--was hurting me. Sometimes the situation leaves no choice but to slow down, pay attention, and take the consequences.

Fortunately for me, my cruise control saved my ass that night. I have no idea why it didn't work; I'd been using it earlier on the other freeway and it kept me at a steady 75 mph. But if it had worked, I would have been....hell, I don't even know what happens if you get busted for 22 over. They probably take all your money and whip you naked in the public stocks. As it turns out though, the cop took off after somebody else, probably somebody  who wasn't paying attention....and the next day my cruise control worked just fine and has since. Pretty strange.

I'm not sure yet how things will turn out with the other issues, but I hope like the cruise control my intuition was right--even though I was reluctant to slow down and focus on how I was feeling. And maybe that metaphorical cop who's been causing me problems will hit her lights and speed off after somebody else so I can get back to driving fast and having fun.


  1. So glad you aren't naked and penniless in the public stocks somewhere...and that you stopped and saw the synchronicity in your experiences. That might be telling you your intuition is exactly right. <3

  2. Ms. Synchronicity and me, we're just like that. Just like that! She's the most dependable spirit in my life, and best friends with the Muse (who is not dependable and likes to brag about her fickleness to the other muses).