Friday, September 26, 2014

Taking a Moment to Slow Things Down

Ah…why is it that a newly recovered street looks so pretty?  I can’t stop opening my door or stop looking at that shining black surface that is staring back at me.  When the light is right, first thing in the morning, it looks like it is wet from a fresh rain.  However, Suzy says that it smells like horse pee…so not so sure that I like that aspect.

This week I woke up, the morning when that great road fiascos started.  We had received notice the day before of which roads in our small housing complex would be affected that day.  Not my street, according to my map, so my cars could stay parked right where they were.  In the process of getting kids ready for school I heard the large equipment roll in, sounding ever too close to our street to be where the map showed, but oh well, big gear probably echoes making it sound closer than it was, right?  Not right.  As I was walking the last child out the door the street cleaner came by to ready our street.  Jenny hurried and moved the suburban up on the driveway for me and then drove off in her little truck.

“What the heck?  Did I read the map wrong?”  No, roads to be worked on were mapped out in red and the street numbers written beside the map.  Quick call to the project manager and sure enough, a couple of the wrong maps for the next day’s project had gotten mixed in with the right ones and I had been lucky enough to be given one of those.  Great.  Now I was stuck with a suburban stuck in the driveway and not parked in the graveyard for easy access later.  What to do, what to do.

Well right about that time, Jason came home from an early doctor’s appointment he had that morning, to say goodbye before he headed to work.  He had parked his car a block away at the cemetery and walked home.  What did he do?  Braved the street cleaning truck and the guys getting ready to pour blacktop and took the suburban down to the cemetery for me.  Problem solved, with little effort and here I had stressed over nothing.

Moral to the story…not a whole lot, really, just another day.  It’s what came later that was so amazing.  So small, yet so amazing.

I have been watching a show on Netflix called Jericho.  It’s about the United States after coordinated terrorist attacks across the country destroys major cities and knocks out power and contact to the rest of the world.  Not my favorite show but interesting enough as I watch a small town have to come together even for the simplest necessities of life.  How does this have anything to do with the road work that was going on in my neck of the woods you ask.  All of us on those few blocks had to walk a block away to our cars where all of the neighborhood was parked.  I left my home several times that day only to run into one neighbor or another along my way, and what did we do?  We stopped and chatted for a minute.  As I would drive away in my suburban I would see others on their sidewalks or in the cemetery chatting too.  People were everywhere, not just in their houses or in their cars but talking. 

The next day we had our roads back but the roads below us were in the same situation.  The road for the bus stop was closed so the kids were dropped several blocks away and had to walk up.  So many parents, me included because I had to get said kids off to piano lessons, were waiting for their kids to walk up the street.  So many people chatting and waiting as a mass of kids walked up the streets. 

In all of this it kind of reminded me of the show Jericho, where the small community, much like my own, had to be all connected, farmer and businessman, school teacher and nurse, men, women, and children.  Kind of sent it all back to a simpler time when life was a little slower and neighbors mattered.

As I walked the kids home after one of our trips that first day, we walked slow and noticed things and talked.  I know it was only a block but it was a lazy block and Sam and Steph talked about the school day, and all the work and the chores and homework waiting for us back at the house took the back burner for a moment, and I loved it.  Those neighbors that I wave to but rarely have time to talk to I got to say hello and hear a little about what was happening in their lives and for a minute the world just slowed down a little bit. 

Jenny always says how she wished that she had been born in the 1950’s and, well, for those two days it felt a little like that.  The question is…how exactly do we keep that slow pace life and connecting with our neighbors going?  I doubt the city would be too happy if we kept parking our cars down at the graveyard, but hey maybe we just need to convince them to resurface our roads a little more often.

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