Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Left Turns

Last night I had to drive down to the pediatrician's office to pick up a prescription. Unfortunately, I had to make the drive during rush hour, and now, after darkness. It is about a twenty to twenty-five minute drive, and most of the way is a fairly easy trip. But, there are two left-hand turns, one in each leg of the trip, that are killers.

I hate left-hand turns. The first time I was in a car accident, it was making a left-hand turn. Add rush hour traffic, and trying to cross a busy road, in darkness, and it is even worse. I watched one near accident on the way down to the office, but made that same turn with no trouble.

The trip back was what got me thinking about left hand turns. It was the toughest turn of the trip. Crossing a busy street, with consistently heavy traffic in both directions, and of course, no light. As I was getting near the intersection, I debated with myself. Should I go right instead, and go home a different route? It was only at the last minute that I finally decided to make the left, and go home the usual route.

I sat there watching the flow. Looking right and then left. Trying to find an opening in both directions at the same time. There was a big gap on the right, but cars approaching on the left. At the last moment, the car leading the group on the left turned right, on the the street I was on, and the car behind me hit his horn. "Why hadn't I gone??", the horn screamed at me!

Now I felt under the gun. I missed one opportunity, because of a lack of a signal. When would the next one come, and would I see it in time to act? And, if I didn't, what would the guy behind me do? Clearly, he/she was in a hurry.

With about a minute or two of patience, my window came. It was a tight one that required no hesitation, but it had a bit of breathing space. I made the turn and exhaled as I continued home.

No drama. But it made me think about the process of making decisions and following through with actions in our lives. Are we patiently waiting for that perfect and most comfortable opportunity to present itself, or are we anxious to get across the traffic and moving along to our destination. So anxious in fact that we are willing to take unreasonable risks. It is a spectrum, of course, and on different days we might find ourselves in different places along that spectrum.

The economy slows. Do we decide to park the metaphorical car and not come out again until we are absolutely certain of success in our "turns"/ventures? Or do we behave recklessly. Frantically trying anything and everything, hoping for success? I hope we do neither. I hope we are able to assess what is working and what will need adjustment in order to succeed as we move forward. We do need to move. But we do need to observe the "traffic". This is not the time to run on autopilot. What has always worked, may no longer be a sure thing. What never worked for you in the past, might we worth revisiting, and evaluating. But business and commerce is continuing. Just not necessarily under the same rules as before.

Above all, we do need patience. We do need to make choices based on what is right for us....for the type of driver we are. Just because the guy in the car behind us is beeping his horn....and potentially gesturing wildly (the blessing of the dark is that this could not be seen!), we are the drivers of our business or our vehicle. We have to determine what our goal will be for navigating these rocky roads. We need to adapt, but we can't let someone else's agenda drive us off course.

By the way, did you know that UPS has planned routes so that their drivers make as few left hand turns as possible. Not only is it a safety issue, but apparently it also consumes a lot of fuel to be idling, waiting for that window to turn. So, if you are like me, and will plan routes for your errands so that you have as few left hand turns as possible, then you now can know you are being green in your efforts! And saving money as well. Something we all can celebrate!


Jessica said...

What a great blog post! I often am stuck at left hand turns waiting for my perfect opportunity with someone impatient behind me. It's very stressful, and my boyfriend doesn't understand my dislike of left hand turns (I'll go to a store farther away just to not have to turn left). That is a great metaphor you made.

tammy vitale said...

the jewlery in the previous post is gorgeous! Thought I should drop by and see what you're up to - obviously deep thoughts and wonderful creations. good for your for exercising. Blogging beat exercising over here. =]