Traffic is a bitch. It wastes time… my very precious time. It wastes gas… very expensive gas. It tests your patience… the patience you didn’t have in the first place.
I used to be one of those people who bitched and moaned about traffic. I’d curse other drivers (they’re all idiots…of course, I’m an excellent driver), the highway engineers (who the hell designed these roads?), the traffic gods (spiteful, spiteful, spiteful)… everyone and anyone. Moan, curse (and curse and curse), grumble, complain…I could teach Varuca Salt a thing or two about bitching.
Last year I was involved in a car accident. Luckily my car did everything it was designed to do in an accident. (Thank you engineers at Ford). The steering wheel and side airbags deployed, the front end crushed in like an accordion, right down to the drivers side door and the seatbelts locked. I had a hell of a bruise from the seatbelt, but it sure as hell beat having my face crashing through the windshield.
My beautiful car was totaled. I had my first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride to a hospital. I hurt like hell, but all in all, things could have been so much worse.
The accident occurred at the busiest intersection in my town. It caused a major back up of traffic. A long line of cars had no choice but to wait while two crushed SUV’s were towed away and the debris cleaned up.
A few weeks later, we were driving on the highway and came into a three mile line of traffic. Normally this would set me off on a not-so-kid-friendly four letter word tirade. But my perspective had changed.
I realized something…there’s someone else having a worse day than me. I’m not trapped in a mangled car. I’m not hurt. I’m not going to worry about my passengers injuries or how I’m going to get to work without a car. I’m not riding in an ambulance.
I’m simply inconvenienced. Someone else is having a worse day.
I write this as I spend my first full day home from my kid’s nine day hospital stay. I slept on a cot in his room. My husband slept on a narrow couch. I did not leave the building for nine days.
At times, I was overwhelmed by the situation. A parent’s worse fear is their child gets so ill, they need to be hospitalized. It sucked. I made my deals with God on the ride to the hospital. I called on my deceased father to watch over us. I was scared to death. Terrified.
Once we settled in and treatment was in place, I relaxed. We put our trust in the medical team.
When your kid is hospitalized, it puts a lot of things in perspective. It opens your eyes. You walk around the hospital and see young children in masks, walking through hallways dragging their IV towers beside them. It’s humbling. I don’t need to see their diagnosis to know that for as tough as I have it, some other parent has it tougher. With time, patience and strength, my child will recover. Not everyone is as lucky.
For as long as our road may be, someone else has it worse.
Does this mean I think no one should ever complain? No. Complain away. We’re only human. We need to vent. It’s the way we’re wired.
Just keep in mind that someone out there is having a worse day than you.
So, bitch… moan and be thankful.