I recently returned from a visit with my parents. It usually takes me about four hours to drive from their house in New Hampshire to mine in Connecticut. Somehow my husband is able to make it just over three hours, but that’s a different story.
My drive was going along very well until I reached the Massachusetts Turnpike. Dead stop, backed up for more miles than I could see. I was tired and had already been on the road for over two hours. Frustration rose. I was alone in the car as my husband was in Japan. Soon my stewing and feeling sorry for myself abated. Emergency vehicles zoomed by on the right shoulder. Clearly some one or some ones were have a far worse day than I. With that in mind, I decided to play some games.
First, I turned up the music, picking an CD I enjoy. With the windows closed, the music as loud as I could tolerate, I sang along at full volume. My head was bobbing, one hand tapping the steering wheel, and I was having fun. This is, you must realize, while my car was in park. We weren't going anywhere.
I glanced sidewise. In the next car a young man gave me a thumbs up as he could see inside my car-as I was boogying. I laughed. You have to realize this is not normal for me.
I then needed a new activity. This was going on for ages at less than two miles per hour. So, I’m a writer and what do you do? You read bumper stickers. “If you can rd this U R up my arse.” Lovey, no? “I seek a higher place in life, don’t send me there.” My favorite—“Warning, dear crossing.”
But, we were moving so slowly I really didn’t have a chance to a have a great selection.
Then there was the woman who motioned to me. She waved at my car and then pointed at hers. Back and forth. I finally figured out the message. Our cars matched. Same color. Same model and looked liked the same year. We were twins and she was thrilled. Great. We are on I-90 going two miles an hour and she has found a friend.
The best part happened next. A station wagon slipped up next to me. On the back were two adult serious bicycles and two of the smallest bikes I’ve ever seen. On in blue and one in pink—all strapped to the back of the car. Certainly there were children in the car. They hedged forward a few inches, then so did I. I peeked into their car. Yes, a small boy and girl were strapped into the back. I waved, one handed as the other was on the steering wheel.
I had their four hands waving back with exuberance. I was smiling and chuckling. Our cars moved six feet in front of each other every 10 minutes. We waved each time.
I came away from the almost six hour drive feeling fulfilled. Why? Because with the man who gave the thumbs up on my silly singing, the lady who wanted to show me we had the same car, and the kids who gave me a game that took me back years to my own girls, we made a small community. Strangers who will never see each other again connected. It was lovely.
I have been thinking about this. We reach out in so many different ways. AND that influences what we write.