October 1, 2013
Terrible Tuesdays Tantamount To Total Throw-up(?)
Hmmm… Another alliteration fail. What’s a good T word for destruction, or wipe-out, or annihilation? My tuesdays have become a marathon of a day. I have a longer day at work, adding an extra ten minutes to my typical thirty five minute commute due to rush hour. By the time I get home, I am pretty tired, but I go straight to preparing dinner in time to take my 7 year old to his evening group music class. Let me tell ya, at the end of a long, tiring day, listening to a group of 7 year olds belt out out of sync tunes, and pound out discordant notes, is enough to make you go to dark places in your mind. The place where these thoughts cross your mind,
“Music is overrated. Let’s quit, let’s quit, let’s quit.”
“If that kid accidentally leans on that keyboard one more time, I will personally throw him out the window.”
and then you’ll judge all the other parents in there on their smartphones for not engaging with their children, thinking you can rise above this but will fail miserably and proceed to get stuck on current candy crush level.
Finally, the eternity of the hour ends, and creeping anxiety about keeping my kid up past his bedtime on a school night and fear for my own adult meltdown, will usher us both quickly back to the car to drive home.
Then the traffic will stall, because of the damn duck. Yes, there is a 18 meter high rubber duck floating in the harbor two blocks from our apartment. While the whimsy of a gigantic rubber duck nestled in the midst of a bustling city may excite residents and tourists alike, the traffic which comes with said duck does not bode well with THIS resident, at 8:30 pm at the end of Terrible Tuesday.
As I mutter threats under my breath to take a knife to the duck, we continue our slow drive home. I approach a stoplight which seem to be broken. I squint my eyes to be sure it’s not just my night vision missing a particularly weak light bulb, but nope, pretty sure the stoplight is completely broken – all three, red, green and yellow, sit unblinkingly still, dark against the night sky.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I think. There are out of town tourists unfamiliar with this road, the usual families piled on to scooters, bikers exercising in the cooler evening, and cranky mothers trying to get their child home for bed sharing these roads. And the lights are broken?! The saving grace is none of us are moving very fast because of the sheer volume of vehicles inching along, but we all intuitively slow down a bit more, gauging which direction the traffic is flowing, and then tentatively cross the intersection, praying to our separate deities for safety. (I saw some souvenirs of duck-gods, you can’t even make this stuff up.)
Obviously I made it home to blog about it. Son is in bed, my brain is fried, but I promised in my last post I would be on here writing more often so here I am.
We all are inspired to write by different things. The brilliance of a sunrise, or the majesty of roaring oceans make excellent fodder for grand poetry and prose. But more and more I find my inspiration in things like broken stoplights. I am captured by the imagination of a crowd who has suddenly lost their signal which has reliably guided their way around. What happens when the thing we have always counted on to lead us, fails us? What if the rules that have ensured stability and safety no longer regulates our decision to stop and go? There is opportunity for mass chaos and risk of injury and death. There is fear and a rising panic. Yet there is also a chance it could go as it did tonight, where fellow travelers slowed their steps, displayed mutual civility by allowing the other direction to pass, and took the leap of faith to cross when the time was right.
To my Kaohsiung citizens: we did alright this Tuesday night.