any unplanned event that causes the closing of one lane of traffic for 30 minutes or more
defined by California Highway Patrol and originated in 1955
by Lloyd "Sig" Sigmon
This morning, when it was still dark outside, I texted a friend that I'd be looking for signs today. I didn't mean street signs, but real signs that everything was going to be ok. Then I put on my red dress (see yesterday's post) and got out of bed to fix Henry's breakfast and drive him and the rest of the carpool to school. It's quite a haul to Henry's school -- probably only five or so miles that can take anywhere from twenty minutes to hours, if there's a problem on the 101N. This morning, there was a problem on the 101S, though, which meant my ride home was going to take a looooooooooong time.
Was this my sign?
I surrender to traffic, to tell you the truth (but do complain about it a lot). It doesn't make me angry as much as it makes me feel entirely weak, whimpery and ineffectual. At best, my mind wanders into the realm of -- well -- I don't know where it wanders. I think of nothing. You won't find me in a state of road rage other than an occasional derisional word I'll direct toward the weaving BMW driver (why, why do all BMW drivers act so cocky?), and this morning was no different. Once I heard on the radio the dreaded SIG Alert words, I decided that I'd take Ventura Blvd home and listen to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but since everything today was going to be significant, a sign, I felt repelled by the reader's placid English voice and realized that I didn't want to think about horror and the creations we've wrought on this earth (because everything just is) even as brilliant metaphor. I pulled into a Jon's parking lot to download some Pema Chodron. Her name popped into my head, so I took that as a sign. I thought I had chosen a book, but it turned out to be a seminar that she taught, and my mind wandered to the sound of her sweet voice and gentle laugh as I meandered down Ventura and then into Hollywood.
Be compassionate and kind toward all beings and particularly yourself, Pema said. I closed off that line of traffic in my head that's bogged down, stuck and afraid, and felt my heart open up right there in my red dress in my sexy white Mazda on Ventura Blvd.