Heads You Win, Tails You Lose

headsyouwin

*

Oh, God!  We’re slowing to a crawl.  Look at those taillights, stretching ahead as far as the eye can see.   Damn!  I’m going to be late for work for SURE.  And will my jerk-wad boss care that it is not my fault this time?  That it was one of these damn traffic snarls on the freeway, AGAIN?  As if!

Oh, God! Where am I? What happened?  The lights, that wailing, wailing… Now I remember.  The semi.  Happened so fast… I was talking on the phone and… THE KIDS!  THE KIDS!  No…not here…at the babysitters.

 funny – where’s the side of my car? Why is Aubry’s teddy bear out there…on the highway?  Can’t think.  Got to get her teddy bear…Why can’t I think?

My chest.  Hurts so bad… so bad, I can’t…can’t stand it. Can’t breathe.

Dead stop.  It figures.  What is WITH this parking lot?  Probably gapers.  Everybody has to slow down and eyeball some state worker getting $50 per hour to lean on a “Slow” sign because they’re laying down traffic cones on the other side of the highway.

Jeez, this burns me.  Just my luck – why does this crap always happen to me?  I swear I should be walking around with a black cloud over my head the way I get singled out for bad luck.   Why me, Lord?

Can’t see…why is the light dimming?   This can’t be… the end?  kids…they need me. Too young!  Doesn’t hurt anymore.  Can’t feel anything.  Oh no, Oh no, Oh no…why me, Lord?    Is this it? 

Heavenly Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.  Dear Lord, please, please…

Can’t see…what caused this tie-up?  All of a sudden we’re starting to move.  Great!  Still, I hate it when you’re stuck and then suddenly you’re moving, and there’s no rhyme or reason.  Probably some broken-down junker overheated and just got towed away.  Thanks for ruining my morning, asshole.  I guess I’ll never know.

Look at that old teddy bear on the shoulder.  Bet some kid having a tantrum threw it out the window. Won’t her mom raise hell when they get home?  Oh, good. Now we’re really picking up speed.

I know that jag-off will make me work later tonight, but I’ll still get to happy hour before 7.  And I look hot.   Wonder if I’ll see that cute intern from the hospital there again this week?  Dear Lord, please, please….

**************

Note To Self:

Happy-Sad
Good-Bad
Tragedy-Comedy
Gratitude-Attitude

Much of life is opposite sides of the same coin.  Which side do we see?  Depends on where we are standing when the coin is flipped.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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54 Responses to Heads You Win, Tails You Lose

  1. Elyse says:

    Good reminder, Peg. Thanks. One person’s inconvenience is another’s tragedy. And in your job, I bet you hear about all too many (my dad was an insurance agent).

    Like

  2. Go Jules Go says:

    This was great, Peg. And a terrific reminder, as Elyse said. On a related note, I know I have such a hard time, day to day, reminding myself that I DON’T know where other people are ‘coming from’ – the experiences they’re dealing with behind-the-scenes.

    Like

  3. So true, we often get caught up in the petty stuff and let it bring us down. When it’s the really big things that should shake us up. I am always thinking of what others might be going through and try to be more patient and kind for that reason. You just never know what might happen. Being more grateful and thankful for what we have is the key to contentment. (still working on it!)

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    • pegoleg says:

      My daughter and I were discussing this just this weekend. If you stop and consider that every person you pass on the street isn’t just backdrop for YOUR life, that they are the epicenter of their own realities which are just as complicated and important to THEM…it’s kind of an existential mind-blower.

      Like

  4. Al says:

    Sobering post, Peg. And we wonder why cops are so stern and unfeeling when they pull drivers over for speeding, running stop signs, drinking etc. etc. etc.

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  5. Wow, Peg… this gave me goosebumps…
    very, very powerful stuff…
    (this feels like it should be minted on both sides of that mysterious freshly pressed coin…)

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    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks SIG. I was stuck in one of those mysterious stop-and-go situations on the highway, feeling extremely annoyed when it occurred to me that maybe my inconvenience was somebody else’s really, really bad day.

      Like

  6. Extremely profound.
    Several years ago as I was sitting stopped way too close to a really horrendous highway fatality I realized that usually this part was out of sight to me and I was just upset about being delayed. Now I consciously say a little prayer (or mantra if you will), for it not to be an accident, that no one is killed or hurt physically and that I can always make up the time later. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient and I have to physically put myself back there to see what I saw.
    Great post.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh my, I’m sure that experience stayed with you. My mom said they went by an accident with a car and an oil tanker on the highway when she was about 5 – almost 80 years ago! She never forgot, and all her life she tensed up when she got near an oil truck on the highway.

      Like

  7. susielindau says:

    This is so true. I often find myself praying for those involved in accidents.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I do too, if I know it’s an accident. If I never see it, however, I assume it’s something stupid and just get annoyed. I’m trying to be more patient and empathetic, but it’s a tough work-in-progress for me.

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  8. Impressive! Next time I am in a traffic slowdown, I hope I remember this. Thanks for an important reminder.

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  9. Yes, indeed, it’s all about perspective… Good one, Oh Impressive One!

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  10. Tar-Buns says:

    Poignant, Peg. We truly don’t know what’s just around the corner for us … or the other guy.
    Nice dose of empathy. Hope your Monday was fab. 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I drove Gwen back to school yesterday and it was as bad a winter drive as I have ever experienced. 3 hours down and 4 hours back to cover 110 miles. As I white-knuckled my way down the highway at 25 MPH I remembered I had set this piece to automatically post this morning. I thought “Wouldn’t it be ironic if I died today and that post went up posthumously tomorrow morning? It would probably make the national news as one of those chills-up-the-spine human interest stories.”

      I was glad that didn’t happen despite the certain increase in my number of readers.

      Like

  11. I drove past a fatal accident a few months ago. It was troubling to see, and the faces of the people in the jammed cars in the opposite direction were annoyed and oblivious to why they were not moving.

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    • pegoleg says:

      “oblivious” is the operative word. It would be the rare jerk who would not be sobered and sorry if they knew why they weren’t moving. I guess we just need to remind ourselves of the possibility – at least I do.

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  12. You really saw the big picture! Good reminder!
    Your narrative was so compelling, I had to re-read and be sure it wasn’t you. Pretty sobering.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’ve been the person whining about the delay more times than I’d care to admit. I have to remind myself that my inconvenience might be somebody else’s life-changing event.

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  13. Beautiful post. We are so insulated these days that compassion seems to have disappeared.

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    • pegoleg says:

      That can be true, but for most of us I think it’s not meanness, just a failure to really THINK about others – we’re so wrapped up in our own stuff.

      Like

  14. winsomebella says:

    Very compelling, Peg and a well-woven reminder.

    Like

  15. Angie Z. says:

    Great post, Peg — it’s ridiculous how much more time means to us sometimes than people. Thanks for this poignant reminder.

    Like

  16. pattisj says:

    Good one, Peg. Great perspective.

    Like

  17. amelie88 says:

    How weird, your reflections on the nature of the side of life we see were appropriate to a situation I went through a few weeks ago. During evening rush hour going home one day after work, my train hit someone on the tracks. The train came to a standstill and we had to wait on the tracks for the police/crime scene people to get there and assess the situation, do a report or some kind of investigation. We were not allowed to get off the train and ended up waiting for two hours and a half in the the dark (they had to shut the power off in the train since the track is electrified to let the police get close to the body), before we were allowed to continue on our way home. I got home that night at 9:30 PM and was so frustrated that I was getting home so late and for being trapped in a train for so long.

    I also had to remind myself while I was waiting that someone had lost their life–either through suicide or by accident, I will never know. It was hard not to be exasperated and outraged by this unnamed person who was careless enough to walk on a train track. At the same time, I have no idea what kind of frame of mind he was in (pretty sure it was a man) and what that person’s family must be going through.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh God! What an ordeal. I can relate totally to your combination of frustration and compassion. (as an eerie coincidence, I was just listening to Anna Karenina on CD in my car and it was near the beginning when the train porter was killed on the train tracks. Then I came in my office and read this. Getting chills.)

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  18. dorannrule says:

    This post had me stunned since my husband’s two sisters were killed by a drunk driver. The road they took is our main highway into town and we pass the accident site every single day – an indelible scene in our minds. The drunk driver has been in prison for 15 years, and our own lives are forever changed by the terrible loss. Thank you for reminding us of the unknown tragedies in other lives.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh my, how terribly tragic for your whole family. I can’t imagine the pain.

      If you really stop and think about what can go wrong, none of us would ever get in a car, or a train, or plane, or walk on the streets…I guess the best we can do is try to be careful and compassionate and carry on.

      Like

  19. Laura says:

    Great post, Peg. It reminds me of a time when I was late for something important at work because of a really bad traffic jam — and then I heard on the radio that there was a fatal accident and realized that there was someone having a much worse day than I was.

    Like

  20. TamrahJo says:

    As a previous police dispatcher, I can say that the phone calls that came in demanding to know why the road was closed never seemed to grasp that no one was trying to screw with their life personally OR that driving further down the road might just get them killed (blizzards) – Thanks for putting such a great perspective piece up on this subject.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I drove through a blizzard on Sunday and I KNEW I should just bunk down at my daughter’s apartment, but I wanted to get home. I didn’t end up dead or in a ditch, but it was only through the grace of God. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      Like

      • TamrahJo says:

        Oh – don’t get me wrong – I’ve driven through white outs and many a time, the State Patrol closed the gate that closed the highway behind me – because I preferred being at home rather than bunking down in the school gym with thousands of strangers!

        I was referring to those who would drive around the gates, get stuck a mile later and then have the gall to call 911 and demand, “Come Get Me!” – 🙂 Or the ones waiting to turn around and head back to the nearest hotel because the road was closed, who called me to vent their frustration – –

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  21. Wonderfully done Peg, wonderful reminder.

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  22. I didn’t make it past the part where you said I could make $50 an hour leaning against a ‘Slow’ sign. Do you know who I can call about that?

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  23. Lenore Diane says:

    I had a tough time getting through this Peg. The reminder hits home – and I started to cry thinking about those living the part in italics.

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  24. Pingback: Blaging Rizzard Foolery | The Good, Bad and Ludicrous

  25. Zen A. says:

    That was really poignant and heart-wrenching. It’s a wonderful reminder to stop and think about others before complaining about everything. Thanks, Peg.

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