Skip to main content

Metaphors that Lie in Wait

iStock Photo

I just finished a driver's ed course to "make up" for a speeding ticket. I earned the ticket, fair and square. I was driving on one of those streets that, dog gone it, just feels like a 40 mph street instead of a 30 mph street. I'm not glad I got the ticket, but I am glad I took the course-- for reasons both practical and metaphorical.

In 1984, an 18-wheeler truck rear-ended my 2-door car while I was stopped at a red light. Despite wearing a seat belt, my body was thrown far-forward, and when it came flying back into the seat, my body's impact broke the car's seat. I was fortunate. The trucker was without his cargo that day. Otherwise, I might not have survived the accident. Even so, the injuries I did sustain changed my life forever. The tennis matches I planned to play with my son never happened, and I would never again leap gracefully in a ballet class. The experience taught me a lot about how quickly life can change, and how much change one traffic accident can bring about.

The driver's ed course was a good way to restore my appreciation of safety and help me get real and stay real about speed limits. They are there for a reason. And, yes, they apply to me--not only to that other driver over there. I needed to re-learn and re-remember the course's lessons. The "added value" I received from it, though, came in surprise metaphors. I love finding these things in unexpected places.

While reading about directional control, I realized that I need to apply this to my life and my calendar, as well as to my automobile. A course video demonstrated how "collision traps" are created in traffic. This led me to think about "collision traps" I've created in my own life. It might be more apt to call them "conflict traps," situations I found myself in because I had acted on assumptions instead of facts, just as I assume a driver whose car's right blinker is flashing will turn right--even when I can tell the car is going too fast to make a right turn. 

Scan ahead. Look ahead a "space" of 12 seconds, the man with the exquisite bass voice in the course video advises. And look around...not just ahead. It's easy for me to focus only on where I need to go and lose sight of the world around me when I'm driving. The car in front of me is not an obstacle, but part of an interactive whole. The red light is not beaming to frustrate, but to protect. Context matters. Putting oneself in context matters. Making oneself the context leads to accidents.

The course also discussed time and space management. The one comes with the other, yet we  continually separate the two in books and seminars. Do this with your time. Do that with your space. It's artificial at best, wrong at worst. The two coexist, and we manage them  simultaneously, whether we remain conscious of the fact or not. This insight puts a different spin on my attempts to organize my space--something I usually do without considering time as a function within that space. And it does the same for my efforts to organize my schedule.

iStock Photo

Speaking of schedules, perhaps the meatiest metaphor in the course was this: There is no reason to speed to try to achieve the unattainable goal of making up time

Thanks, Officer, for stopping me in my rush to arrive and making me learn, once again, I can drive without being driven.


Popular posts from this blog

Mil Cosas

Mil Lubroth was an American artist of Polish and Russian descent who came to settle in Madrid, where her chic, short name took on an extra meaning. In castellano, Mil means a thousand. Just right for an artist whose work could never be "pinned down," or categorized by any one theme or direction.

To experience Lubroth's work is akin to hearing a chorus of voices from Sheherazade's 1001 nights: it is to see and feel a thousand things united in one intriguing and beautiful visual journey. If you are anywhere near Madrid during October, invite yourself to a banquet of Mil's "mil cosas" atAnnta Gallery. The exhibit that opens October 5th is the first retrospective of Lubroth's work since her death in 2004.

Spanning 50 years, these works reveal an artist who was never less than mature and skilled in her work. There is no sign of awkward beginnings, improvement over time or deepening development. Here is Minerva, beginning her artistic trajectory fully f…

A Cat, a Dog, and Shakespeare: The Perfect Sunday Afternoon

One reason I keep paying a cable bill is to be able to watch Turner Classic Movies. I had just finished a batch of Sunday chores and was resting a moment on the couch, wedged between Chatterly the cat and Gypsy the dog (an Australian Kelpie), and saw that TCM was about to air Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, and produced in 1953. 

I read Julius Caesar for the first time when I was in sixth grade. It was a great time to read it, because it seemed fresh and real to me, even though some of the centuries-old English was challenging. 

The movie made me wish that Joseph Mankiewicz had directed more of Shakespeare's works for cinema. The balance the movie strikes is oh, so totally just right. It does not go so far into cinematic territory that we lose the work's theatricality, but travels far enough by camera that it provides a sense of seamless reality only a movie can create.  The casting was brilliant.  James Mason was at his best as Brutus, and he carries the film on h…

Booked on Sugar

Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson'sand Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, SugarChanged the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.

I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities:  "Betcha can't eat just one.  Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss."  And, as noted in my earlier posts on  Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.

I've also thought about how quickly we "judge" people with substance abuse problems while the US clearly suffers from foo…