Thursday, May 5, 2011

Get A Grip

I was driving along, all stressed up as usual the other day, and read a bumper sticker on the car in front of me. Well, not a bumper sticker, but one of those metal frames that go around the license plate; I'm just not sure what they're called. Anyway, it said, "Get a grip: It's only a lane change."

Those words totally struck me.

I've been all worried about everything lately. Worried about getting healthy, looking for a new house, am I doing a good job with my kids, does my writing suck, am I getting the hang of the new office at work, do I keep my socks in the best spot, and so on ad nauseam.

What this license plate frame seemed to be saying to me was: Don't freak out about the big picture right now. Just get in the right lane. Simple. Do the simple, small things you know you need to do. That will take you where you need to go.

I started thinking about how the lane your in can take you someplace completely different than the lane right next to you, over a long enough distance. Roads are crazy things some times. It isn't always intuitive what lane will take you where you want to go. Some exits go one way, and others loop back on themselves to take you a different way. It may feel like you're headed in the wrong direction for your finial destination, but if you're in the right lane, you'll get turned and twisted around until you make it there in the end. To get where you want to go, you don't always have to make radical changes. Just make a lane change. Then keep going.

After I had all these deep thoughts, with "Life is a Highway" type metaphors running around in my head, one little part of may brain suggested that maybe it was only a snarky comment aimed at pushy drivers. I refuse to accept that though. It calmed me down so much, and made all my neurotic stresses feel suddenly so manageable. I have decided it was a very deep message only disguised as snark.

Isn't it cool when you stumble on something like that?

4 comments:

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Wow, capture that moment and channel it into your story! The whole actual journey and inner journey of a character/person thing. Very deep. :) Dang, I'm going to need another cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

I just googled "get a grip, it's only a lane change" because I was sideswiped by an SUV this morning with that license-plate bezel.

I can't agree that it represents some kind of positive attitude. Not at all. She's bad at lane changes. Instead of learning some skills, she puts on the rear of her car a witty message, suggesting that any consequences for that are other peoples' fault. We should all let her infractions roll off of our backs and not say anything? I cut you off - you should get a grip and calm down?. She's going to hurt someone.

Kara Hartz said...

I was only talking about my own attitude in this post. When I wrote 'you' I really meant 'me'. I have a tendency to stress out over minor things, like lane changes both literally and metaphorically. Something I'd like to improve in myself.

I sure can't argue that there are some thoughtless and dangerous people out there in the world. I hope you aren't hurt after that awful experience.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't hurt, but I sure was fired up about it yesterday.

"Check your mirrors before you change lanes" might be advice that works well on the highway, and in life, generally.

Sorry for commenting while I was fired up about some bad driver with a bad sense of humour. Clearly, yours is not intended as a blog about commuting on the QEW. Good luck to you.