Course Correction


No really. Go the other way.

It was part way through the afternoon when I was struck by the sudden feeling that someone had made a decision about me. I didn’t know what the decision was, or who was making it; I just had the sensation that I had been the topic of someone’s discussion and that they had reached a conclusion because of it.

From the moment that I left my internship, I found that no matter what route I planned to take, I found myself running into detours. Literal detours in some cases. On my drive from the internship to campus I discovered that a road was closed due to street repairs. The side street that I turned on to get around the construction zone took an unexpected turn and I got disoriented almost right away. I was able to work my way back onto course with some experimenting and didn’t think anything of it.

On my way home from campus, though, the detours continued: first there was a street blocked off with barricades for a reason that I was unable to discern: crime scene? Filming location? Block party preparations? It could have been any of these things. No sooner did I find my way around that then I was diverted to the side of the road by an ambulance coming up from behind. Once the ambulance passed I was still so distracted that I missed my turn and had to wend my way through neighborhood streets to get back on course. No sooner did I get back on course and stopped at a stoplight in the left-turn lane then I could hear the sound of another approaching siren: this time on a fire truck. I watched as it turned down the street where I planned to go, drive for about a block, then turn perpendicular to traffic, blocking the entire road. This lasted only a moment- the truck executed a three point turn and came rushing back towards the intersection, arriving in time to stop traffic just as the arrow turned green. It turned down the driveway behind a building just I the other side of the train tracks from the street that it had just been on.

The arrow turned red. Everybody waited. By now there was another siren approaching: an Air And Light truck arrived from the west. Another engine arrived from the north. Another from the east. They all turned down the street where I planned to go. I took this as a hint and decided that I would go straight instead of turning. Just like the first fire truck had done, all three of the other emergency vehicles turned around within a block to come pouring through the intersection just as I was crossing it.

I went straight and kept going.

At the next intersection I found myself stopped by an even more nerve wracking obstacle- a dog. A little dog. A chihuahua maybe. Not a puppy, but clearly a pet: well fed, well groomed, and wearing a collar. It hopped down into the street at the exact moment that the light changed and began crossing lanes to the median. The car in the lane to my left didn’t see it and the little guy had to dodge back into my lane to avoid being hit. He was so low to the ground that I couldn’t see him over the hood of the van but I didn’t dare to start driving until I had eyes on him again- green light or not. I was very aware of the traffic behind me who likely wondered why I was holding out so stubbornly at a green light, so when I saw that the dog was out to my left I hurried along. Afterwards, I felt guilty for not stopping to try to coax him to safety, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to think of that at the time.

So that was my journey home. By the end it felt like more than just a series of improbably coincidences. Going back to my slightly fatalistic view that if things are meant to happen then nothing will stop them and if things aren’t meant to happen then I can’t do anything to force them, today certainly felt like I was being directed to take a less traveled path. I’m not sure yet what that path is, but I get the sense that I’ll be finding out soon.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 31, 2016.

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