This fun thing happened to me today—I’m sure it has happened to you too. I had the green yield light at the left turn off Forum and onto the road leading to the the lot at VU’s Echo location. I waited and waited and waited, until, BAM, I saw my chance! As soon as this black Altima drives by, I should be able to Tokyo Drift myself through the turn without getting mercilessly t-boned by oncoming traffic.
So, with that last image playing through my mind, I inched out into the intersection—you know, to get a head-start and all. My hands were clenched at 10 and 2, and my foot hovered over the accelerator; my heart counted down, “3 . . . 2 . . . 2-and-a-half . . . 2-and-less-than-a-half . . .” Fractions had really never been my thing.
The black Altima had slowed to a snail’s pace. Turns out the Altima had decided to turn right—contrary to the message its turn signal was sending. Based on this unblinking turn signal, the car should have cruised on by, free-and-clear, past Dunn Bros and Break Time and Subway and on out of my life forever. But instead it wormed along, allowing all the cars behind it to close into my now narrowing gap of opportunity. Then my traffic light turned yellow. And then red.
And there I was, the rube parked in the middle of the intersection. Cars were all around, just where they were supposed to be, waiting for their own lights and destinies to change and direct their paths. But not me. No, sir. I was just hanging out, blocking pretty much everything and not knowing how to act: Faith had led me this far, now what?
Do I back up? Surely, the car back there guarding the white line would notice my reverse lights and politely also reverse his auto. Or he could lay on his horn and cause even more of a scene, unmovable and content to leave me nose-out in traffic.
Maybe I should just run the now-red light? Trouble was, we were within a block of VU. With the company and all its values and integrity and whatnot, how would it look when Johnny New Guy just couldn’t wait his turn? I imagined being sprawled upon my hood and roughly cuffed by the toughest cop in town—“Officer Hammer” was his name in my head—as my new supervisors and co-workers drove responsibly by, shaking their heads at my impropriety.
So I just sat there, dopily grinning like I had done this all on purpose. Look at the funny traffic guy! they’d say.
He’s just making my day with his antics!
It never gets old!
How’s he do it!
What a guy!
I just sat there grinning, red-faced and pondering the wondrous possibilities of invisibility.
Then the light turned green and I hurriedly made my turn. Trouble was, it was again the shifty yield-green, and I ended up pulling out in front of about 17 waiting cars. I waved. They honked.
But I think they were honks of forgiveness and encouragement—honks of love.
At least, that is what I told myself as I pulled my car neatly between the white lines of the parking space, and went about my day, refusing to yield.
And such is the way of this life. We often nose out precisely where we don’t belong. We end up confused, embarrassed, uncertain. It is where we live, out there in the middle, waiting for our turn to move along. But as long as we keep moving forward, learning and growing, and avoid getting slammed onto the hood of a police car, well, we’ll get there. Just where we are supposed to be, wherever in this life that ends up being.