A Medley of Things That Matter For When Life Takes Over And You Need Simple Happiness

A Medley of Things That Matter For When Life Takes Over And You Need Simple Happiness

Telling the truth, telling it well.

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As August tumbles headlong into this fall semester, most of my thoughts can be summarized as "These changes are so exciting! I'm thrilled for all this semester will bring!" or, "I'm not ready, I'm not ready, where has the time gone?" (Regarding the latter, it probably doesn't help that the playlist at the grocery store where I work features Macklemore and Kesha's "Good Old Days" on heavy rotation.)

Thinking about time has led me to re-read some of my old writing. Of course, as any writer knows, that is by no means a quantitatively pleasant experience, but in doing so, I did stumble upon a piece from January of 2017 that I feel is worth sharing. Simply put, it is a collection of what really matters.


A Medley of Things that Matter:

Snowy feline footprints. Swapping riddles. Old bookstores, and flipping through dozens of musty paperbacks, triggering your allergies. Pale yellow Christmas lights. Typewriters' unshakable association with "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type." Glancing after saying something funny to make sure the person you're talking to is smiling. Non-artists making art nonetheless. Good chapstick. Purses that hold at least two books. Canvas sneakers. Lilacs and sunflowers, and the kleptomaniac urge that comes driving past a field of the latter. Unconsciously leaning against the people you're sitting next to. Chromatic scales. Funky sunglasses. Reading every day. Making flower crowns with little girls. Taking pictures, even blurry ones. The friendliest librarian. Givers, especially the hard-shelled ones. Dark, dark chocolate. Singing in the car. Electrons. Making plans, and the bravery to break them. The susurrus of a stream. Eyebrows. Reading poetry for fun. Decorating Christmas trees and pricking your fingers on the needles. The one shattered vase or teacup that's been glued back together. Worn spines on books. Whispering in art galleries. Telling the truth, telling it well. Sitting in the middle and not minding being crowded. Red-nosed autumn walks. The old ladies who make you lemonade and cookies, and you never quite know how to thank them. Favorite jackets. Collections of feathers or rocks or leaves or keys or shed cicada skins. Midnight trips to fast food restaurants you'd never consider in the daylight. Fat, slow-falling snowflakes. Tracing the path of a raindrop on your car window. Washing your face after a long trip. Kiwis, all kinds. Cats turning around and around in your lap. The juice that sprays in the air when peeling an orange. Digesting novels by nightlight. Snow foxes, high-stepping in the arctic tundra. Pedaling so fast your bike's wheels can't keep up. Climbing the cemetery fence to get to a secret lake. Playground swings. Wanting to be an archer after watching Disney's "Robin Hood." Hiding behind trees and shooting cars with Nerf guns. Lightsaber fights. Naming your hamster after Despereaux's older brother. Passionate hosts on alternative radio stations. Drying flowers between textbook pages. "Little House on the Prairie" reruns. Obstinately holding onto old birthday and Christmas cards. Illustrations. Gel pens. Shark tooth necklaces. Waking up early to collect turkey-wing shells on the shore. Sherlock Holmes and Ancient Egypt and Amelia Earhart. The way people move their hands when telling a story.

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5 Things That I Encounter While Driving And How I Am Still A Safe Driver After Them

Stay in your lane, my friend.

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When I began driving as a 16-year-old, I was terrified that I was going to do something wrong. On the road, it's easy to mess up, swerve into another lane even just a little bit, or be in the wrong in a car accident. There's, unfortunately, an endless amount of things that can happen on the road and already do every day.

With a lot more practice driving in the past 5.5 years, I've learned a lot about my own style of driving as well as other people's. I never come across the same people on the roads, but some of their actions are similar, if not the same as others. Driving like an idiot has become a new trend on the road nowadays. I don't know who started that, but it's bothersome to the safe drivers who are trying to get from point A to point B.

Over the years I've driven on my own so far, I've encountered lots and lots of different scenarios and I've learned from each of them. In turn, I've become a much more defensive and safer driver.

1. People in a huge hurry.

Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

It's inevitable, there are people who are in a hurry to get where they're going. I understand if an emergency arose, but if it involves getting somewhere and not running late, people should plan to have more time for their commute. Instead, since they don't, they believe that swerving into lanes in order to get in front of people is a problem-solving way of driving.

Their logic is: if there's enough room for me to squeeze in between two people, I'll do it so that I can get where I'm going faster. Lots of people think that if they get past a traffic mess or get past slower drivers that their problems will be solved and that they'll get where they need to go on time. Since this is not the case, I leave enough room in front of myself and other drivers in their automobiles in case something like this happens. I don't want to be at fault for someone else's mistakes.

2. People out to get you.

Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

Call me paranoid, but I have a strong belief that some people like to act the way that they do on the road in order to ruin someone else's day. Even if this isn't the case, there are people who can still have malicious intentions. These can involve someone cutting me off without using a directional to let me know they're merging into my lane or even people who try to merge into my lane in front of me with very minimal space. When drivers do this, they're stressing me out because I leave enough space in case I need to slam on my brakes in case of an emergency, not enough for someone to squeeze into my lane and make me slam on my brakes to slow down to let them in. The reason I leave space in between myself and other drivers is not that I'm welcoming someone into my lane so that they can get their way.

3. People clearly distracted.

Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

Look, I understand that it's IMPERATIVE that you talk on the phone while driving. All power to you. My car has the ability to call anyone for me hands-free, as well as text someone for me and not have to lift a fingertip off of the wheel. Isn't that also why we have Siri? iPhone users, it's become so easy to text, call, email, etc. while driving now.

A lot of people are victims of texting and driving, but if there's traffic on a road with stoplights, or we're driving on a one-way road where we can't pass others driving too slow, it's a courtesy to put your phone down to make sure you aren't going to run into the back of someone. One thing I notice with distinctly distracted drivers is that they'll brake more often for no reason when they're distracted. It's because if someone is looking down or away from their view of cars in front of them, they'll constantly brake more in hopes that they won't accidentally run into someone. But what about the people stuck behind them who are wondering why the people in front of them are braking so often? Not to mention that there's usually not anyone directly in front of them, so it makes it much more obvious that they're distracted.

In hindsight, it's much better to just wait until you're stopped. Please and thank you (:

4. People who tailgate.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

This is something I'll never come to terms with.

Why people need to tailgate me is beyond me. I used to have a habit of doing it myself but realized how unsafe it was and how quickly something accidental can result from it. That's the thing - if I'm being blatantly tailgated and someone runs into me, it's much more intentional than it would be if it were a different circumstance. So to an extent, it's not "accidental".

I'm a person who is very conscious of people around me in all directions, so I know when someone is riding my as*. I don't just stare directly in front of me, I can see you tailgating me. My strategy when this happens is to slow down even more to tick off the driver behind me in hopes that they'll get fed up and kindly (but never actually kindly) merge around me.

Another useful strategy I use - not as often because it can be unsafe - is brake checking. I'll do it so that the driver behind me knows that I'm very aware that they're there and what they're doing to me, but it's not recommended for anyone to do. A safer option is the former.

Something I'll notice when I have a tailgater on me is the fact that they'll flash their lights at me in hopes that I'll either move out of their way or speed up so that they can get around me. All that makes me want to do is get neck-and-neck with the people in the other lane and drive alongside them, trapping the tailgater. I'm a petty driver, so don't cross me.

5. People being stupid.

Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash

This one might sound pretty broad, but let me explain.

This is for those people who think it's a good idea to pull out onto a road when they clearly see someone driving in the right lane going 50 m.p.h. For those who think it's a wise, smart decision to cut someone off who is already driving at full speed.

I HATE YOU AND YOU'RE THE REASON I HATE DRIVING.

Lemme just say that I did not think people were actually this stupid, but boyyyyy am I wrong about that one.

Not only are people stupid in this way, but are simply careless. If they pull onto a road into a lane that I'm in, and I'm already going 50+ m.p.h., they don't care about me. They know I'll have to either slow down or somehow merge into another lane in order to miss rear-ending them. But it's not like I just have to tap my brake pedal when this happens. Oh, no honey. It's the fact that I have to slam on my brake pedal in hopes that I slow down fast enough.

If you're one of these people, please re-evaluate these decisions as well as your own life. Quite frankly, that was meant to be a joke, but it's actually literal because it's life or death on the roads and not a lot of in-between.

If you haven't seen all of these different types of drivers on the road, bless your heart. They're coming.

I only wish I could avoid these types of drivers at all costs, but unfortunately, I cannot. They always find me and they always irk me (:

PLEASE make conscious, smart, INTELLIGENT decisions while driving. You could put not only your own life but some other innocent person's life at risk. Think before you act. It's that simple.

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