A Message From Your Local Minivans

(original post to fb – May 7, 2013 – From A to B – Part Four)

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Minivans. So useful in so many ways and yet, unless you’re actually in one, they can be a real drag on the roads. Literally.

While driving the highways of Ontario these past few months I became increasingly more agitated at each minivan I found myself stuck behind in the fast lane. Unless traffic is chock a block, fast lanes are for passing and for driving fast, end of story. And I love to drive fast.

It was interesting to watch myself get all riled up about this, about what my mother refers to as “Lane Hugging”; when a car that should and could be in a slower lane just stays where it is, slowing down all the traffic behind it.

This irritates my father to no end as well. My father first taught me how to drive and his rule about speed bumps? “They’re called ‘Speed Bumps’ so, naturally, you speed over them.” Well, that’s a bit of a joke, but I’d still advise holding onto your ‘Oh shit handle’ if you’re ever in the car in a mall parking lot with my dad behind the wheel.

So what was it that irritated me so much about this?

It’s the visibility or lack thereof when one is stuck, albeit in a smaller vehicle, behind a minivan. You can’t see anything in front of you except for the back of that wretched van which only adds to the irritation when you realize that it’s just been you and that minivan “hugging” that fast lane at the speed limit for the past 5 miles. Really? Really.

But are we supposed to see that far ahead? I mean, sure it’s taught in most driving schools that we need to look behind us and also plan ahead, to indicate and check our side and rear view mirrors, to prepare for that obnoxious sports car weaving in and out of traffic or that big truck merging into the lane you thought you might move into, but don’t we also need to pay attention to where we are?

I remember getting into a minivan with Andie MacDowell and the hair, wardrobe, and makeup crew on a film shoot once. Yes, we all crammed in. I think one of us even sat on Andie’s lap, much to the chagrin of our very detail-oriented 3rd AD who insisted she could get us a second minivan to transport us to the Set. But who needs another minivan on the road?

Andie, not unlike most of us, had a lot of stuff going on so had been a bit distracted; not fully present. She admitted to this in the van that day. Said she’d had a conversation with her Self and come to realize that she’d been missing out a bit on what was right in front of her. It was a wonderful insight and one I could certainly relate to.

The personal growth and spiritual work I have done has taught me that there is often a lesson in everything, a reason why something is happening, and that the trick is to be aware of your Self in any given situation as it is likely providing you with some sort of helpful insight or reminder.

So, this takes me back to my irritation with the minivans. Why did it get to me so much? What was the lesson? Where was the insight? Was it meant to show me that I, too, was not fully present, always wanting to be that much farther ahead of where I actually was?

Or perhaps it was that, even though we look ahead and plan for things, we often have no idea what’s coming so we need to learn to just relax and enjoy the ride.

Or maybe the message was simply to “slow the bleep down”.

I might never know exactly what the message was. Looking back on it now, it’s quite probable that all of the above applied on any of the given days I found myself clenching my fists around the steering wheel and cursing the wretched road hog in front of me.

But I also remember that there was a day when, as I came joyfully speeding along, they all moved out of the way. I didn’t have to flash my lights. I didn’t have to pass them in the centre lane. I didn’t even have to tailgate to let them know I was there. They all just politely let me pass.

It was finally a clear day on the highway.

toronto from fast lane

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