Look Both Ways Before Crossing

The sad thing about road trips is when you come across those forsaken little markers, where a person’s life has ended, but you don’t know who, and you don’t know how. Sometimes I use my imagination to fill in the blanks, but this isn’t necessarily helpful, or true. According to the CDC approximately 77,000 pedestrians are injured by cars every year, alcohol is usually involved, and close to 5,000 die. It got me thinking about my mother’s cautionary advise, “Look both ways honey, before crossing the street.” 

When I was five I got busted for crossing the street diagonally. Some nosey teacher observed my deviant behavior as I was walking home from school, she called my mom straight away, and I was in trouble before I walked in the door. I had to wait in my room until my dad got home from work. The worst kind of punishment. Sitting there for hours wondering if I would get yelled at, spanked, or lose my television privileges. I imagine my twenty something dad trying to work up reproach over his delinquent five year old daughter crossing the street diagonally? He probably had to toss down a beer before dealing with me. Those were the days…

I should avoid listening to the news, it’s depressing, but I have no self discipline. Hypocrisy is rapid, people are insane, and by the way, I think the guy across the street is building a bunker. It makes me anxious. Like, maybe I should have one? As I am sitting down to write this post a guy knocks on my front door. First thing he says, “I’m not asking for money.” Then he starts shoving this point sheet at me. He needs points to earn back his drivers license. I’m like what? (He probably ran over a pedestrian.) It was so confusing I told him he had to leave, try the guy across the street, I know, I know, I’m a horrible person. Trust me when I say, it was a very complicated system. Do I look like a rocket scientist? No, I teach religion. I can pray for you. Then I remember the lesson I just taught on generosity. Shit, I should of bought the guy some points. Now I feel like a hypocrite and I haven’t even changed out of my work clothes. When did life get so confusing?

I was at my mom’s the other day. We spent an hour trying to connect her wireless printer to the computer. We pushed every button, moved the wingback chair in case it was blocking the invisible waves, pushed more buttons, imputed several important looking number sequences, a light came on, we cheered, but it was a hoax. No connection. I hate technology. I remember thinking wireless would be so cool. No more miles of endless cords stretching across the house. Well, like everything else, it’s not as cool as I thought it would be. Remember the pet rock?

My life started out so simple. I knew exactly who held down the corners so I could dream. This is important because you never know what life’s going to throw at you (like diagonally challenged teachers). I knew my dad was adept at chasing the demons out from under the bed, and my mom was infamous for throwing her body against a rotating merry-go-round, because I was about to tank it. My sister stood by my side, even when I was wrong, especially when I was wrong. Like the time I peeled off a square foot of old linoleum in the family room while watching an episode of Star Trek. I thought I remembered mom and dad talking about replacing it anyway. Well, I guess they meant next year. They were rather distraught, so I told them straight up, I know nothing about this, maybe it was the cat? (This is actually the first time I’ve ever admitted to the deed, hope mom isn’t reading.) Nancy offered all of her savings, twelve dollars and some change, to repair the damage. She wasn’t even in the room when I destroyed the floor but she was trying to protect me. Sometimes I wish I could see me like she does. We ended up glueing the pieces back in place, it held for a year, no harm, no foul. 

Then one day, I woke up, in the middle of my own dream come true. Surrounded by new life, and structures that were so confining, I didn’t know how to breath. Now I was the one chasing the boogie man out from under the bed, throwing myself at my children’s nemeses, and scrambling eggs with no regard for the hen. Screaming out the back door, “Look both ways, damn it, before crossing the street.” I felt pulled in so many directions, parts of me were left scattered all over the place, it was an “all the kings horses, and all the kings men,” kind of moment. But I pulled it together like everyone else, with superglue, and duct tape. The kids helped. I held.

Einstein was right, time is relative, I found myself crossing the street, diagonally, just the other day. I was heading to a friends house for a glass of wine, our husbands were out of town, and I admit I was in a bit of a hurry. I looked both ways because you never know what life’s going to throw at you, and truth be told, I don’t want to end up memorialized with one of those sad little roadside markers. 


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  1. Anna Palmer read my blog!!! In case you missed it \”Anna Palmer read my blog,\” I'm so glad you made it across the street to Living in the Gap! Thanks for joining me in the pages, write on, that's what we do. Safe crossings… You can find Anna's work at Annarosenblumpalmer.com


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