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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shifts in the Gears

This past weekend I went on a trip to the Chicagoland area, where I went to college, to see some friends.  It was a good weekend.  I spent my time eating good food and talking with good people, and I'm not really sure you can ask for much more than that.  There was also a great deal of driving.  The Akron/Cleveland area is about seven hours from the Chicago area, not including that tricky time zone which makes the ride either six or eight hours depending on which way you're driving.  Good thing I love driving.

I've written before about how easily I get lost, so maybe me driving doesn't seem like a great idea.  However, the advent of the GPS has done wonders for my ability to get around, and I do my best to keep mine updated and in perfect working order.  My Garmin is almost like a passenger in the car when I'm on a long trip, she gets pleaded with and yelled at, all the while responding in her all-too-pleasant voice that, in some of my less composed moments, causes me to suspect her of sarcasm.

"Are you mocking me, Garmin?"
"Recalculating"
"Damn you!"

But Garmin always gets me through.  I only made one wrong turn this entire trip, and she fixed it within two turns, so I have nothing but gratitude towards her, and my parents for giving her to me last year when I left home.  They were probably worried I'd never find my way back again without her.  What I really love about Garmin, though, is that she takes care of figuring out where I am so I can just focus on driving.

I'm not sure what it is I like about driving so much.  It could be the speed (speed limits or speed suggestions, who's to say?), the sense of freedom that comes with getting out on the highway (I pass signs that say "Exit such-and-such to Wisconsin" or whatever and think "Well I could just go that way if I wanted.  I could go anywhere.").  There is also the fact that driving takes just enough focus to keep my mind off all those things that churn the panic-filled cauldrons in my head, but not enough to engage my mind completely.  I think pleasant thoughts while driving.  Also, I sometimes get good ideas in the car, or come up with the answer to something that's been bothering me.  There were things I was upset about before I took this trip, but the drive gave me the peace and time I needed to think through them.

There is something special, as well, about ending a long trip.  As soon as Garmin says a street I recognize, something hits in the space between my heart and my stomach and I fill up with the word "home".  I get excited and start cutting Garmin off in the middle of her sentences.

"Turn left on..."
"I know!"

And when I pull into my driveway, I feel content.  I feel like I have changed somehow, that the drive has cleared my mind, and that when I wake up in the morning things will be different.  They aren't, of course.  Everything is exactly how I left it a few days ago, but I feel better about it now.  Fifteen hours in a one woman think tank can do wonders.  The people I hung out with in between didn't hurt, either.

So that's where things are right now.  I've come up with some ideas on how to get this life of mine in gear, but I'll wait to see what pans out and what doesn't before going into details.  One thing I will be attempting is to blog more often.  This right here is only my thirty-first entry, and I've been using this blog for over a year.  I'd like for this outlet to be used more often, to be more positive, and not just a place to purge all my negativity.

NOTE: I will definitely still be purging negativity on here, just hopefully not as often.  I have other emotions.  It is time to use them.

This is, in part, why I'm signing up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Basically, you write one entry a day the entire month of April, excluding the Sundays (except April first is a Sunday, so you include that one), with each entry's theme corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, beginning with "A".  I'm usually not one to sign up for things like this, but I like the idea of having something to drive my writing here, to force me into writing more often.  It also takes the pressure off coming up with topics, since you're limited by the letter of the day.  Writing entries here tends to fuel my writing poetry, and my writing in general has fallen to the wayside over the past couple months, so hopefully this will give me something of a jump start.

It may seem like April is far away, but it isn't.  I know this because my birthday is next Friday and I never saw it coming.  People are asking what my plans are, and I feel incredible pressure to appear social and interesting.  That calm post-drive feeling is already beginning to fade.

1 comment:

aeo said...

1. "People are asking what my plans are, and I feel incredible pressure to appear social and interesting." Deactivate Facebook 48 hours before your birthday and wait until the morning after to activate it again. I've done this for a couple years now, and people will mostly forget if they don't have the little reminder on the sidebar.

2. " My Garmin is almost like a passenger in the car when I'm on a long trip, she gets pleaded with and yelled at, all the while responding in her all-too-pleasant voice that, in some of my less composed moments, causes me to suspect her of sarcasm." My mom calls her Garmin "Jill" and often refers to her in casual conversation: "Jill was being a real bitch the other day, drove me into the woods like a murder movie."