The Road – Changing Lanes

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Hear ye, hear ye! I bring tidings.

On the university sidewalks, there exists a strip of darkened bricks creating a border on each side. Human feet tread this pathway daily. This, my lords and ladies, is a travesty. Behold, marking these hallowed stones, a white stenciling of (not a walking figure) but a gallant stick figure upon his trusty bicycle! This, I obligingly inform you, is the often unrecognized and mystical “bike lane.” Those of the biking persuasion are often saddened to realize that it has been lumped among the other bricks clogged by pedestrian traffic. Thankfully, bikers have become adept in the art of lane changing. For the good of the order.

No, I am not really so bent out of shape that the dishonoring of the bike-lane has me stewing. If anything, it provides an amusing test of one’s biking prowess when flying down the esplanade, a sort of human obstacle course (without the crashing part). It was during one of these expert lane-changing maneuvers this past week that I recognized my next topic.

Travel with me, folks, back to our figurative road-trip. You’re driving along having just satisfied the increasingly high-pitched demands of the wee ones in the back seat, fresh cup of coffee cuddled in the cup holder and a fresh gaze to the journey ahead. On the road again… Then, a few radio glitches and games of I-Spy later, traffic seems to flood the lanes of the highway in the time it takes to glance in the rear-view. Where did these twelve bajillion semis come from? Don’t people realize a mere 3 inches behind my back bumper is a disaster waiting to happen? What is this madness?

Lane changing now becomes an art form. Squeezing your bumper between that mauve minivan and the ferocious looking diesel truck and hoping neither one decides to accelerate during the nanosecond you make your move. Deciding whether you want to deal with the madness of the fast lane or the toe-tapping monotony of the slow one. Undoubtedly, the rubber of your wheels will find itself crossing many a dotted line as you switch from lane to lane. Such is the nature of road-trips.

And (perhaps you could see where this was headed), such is the nature of life! For any who have passed through the ranks of secondary education, there is the realization that some people simply move at a faster pace than others. Some spend a Wednesday night munching cashews and plodding their way through a psychology essay. Others, meanwhile, are just heading out at 9:30 p.m. and are wearing away the soles of their shoes on the line-dancing floor until 2:00 a.m. the next day.

Here’s the catch: Both of those people are ME. But, week by week, I find myself changing lanes. Some weeks, I find myself rip-roarin’-ready to go and can’t seem to experience enough. Line dancing into the wee hours of the next day? Alrighty. Laser-tag on our day off? Sounds like a plan. Now is the time to live large and live fully! Then, a mere day passes, and my life glides into an entirely new lane. Gone are the days of wild-hearted adventuring as I welcome in a few days of reading dastardly detective stories or coasting down the bike-trail, regenerating.

In my mind, neither state has more value than the other. Granted, I do heartily enjoy the days of banter and adventure. In the long run, I am a patron of the fast-lane life. However, I would not be able to enjoy those days without my reboot, my slow-lane days. While some would never dare to cruise within a mile of the speed limit – and, likewise, find that any day that isn’t spent packed top to bottom with activity is a day wasted – I cannot help but enjoy a few days of coasting by, comforting myself, and celebrating just being alive.

Yes, this is my monthly little verbal nudge. To you fast-lane folks out there, don’t be afraid of solitude and give yourself a change to reboot. You’d be surprised what you can learn about yourself when the roar of the engine dies down and you can hear your own thoughts. And, for those who are religious slow-lane-ers, give adventure a shot. Any journey could use a good plot twist now and then. And, for lords and ladies of all persuasions, I believe you’ll find changing lanes and recognizing when that shift is needed is one of the most valuable things you can do.

And, about bike lanes… Respect. 😉

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