It was one of those days where I felt like I couldn’t slow down. Thursday morning I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for my busy day of exams and work. By the time I blinked twice and sleepily pulled on a pair of socks the clock read 7:30 a.m.
I rushed to the bus stop and caught the shuttle into campus with seconds to spare.
At breakfast I couldn’t sit still. I choked down my coffee as quickly as I could and rushed through the motion of studying for my exam slated for 11:30. My brain was so frazzled I absorbed nothing but the caffeine.
My 10:00 a.m. lecture was spent restlessly jostling my leg and staring at the clock to hurry up. I had my laptop open–not to my lecture notes–but open to my schedule for next semester. Nailing down the perfect course load five months ahead of time simply couldn’t wait.
Class ended, and the next class began 15 minutes later. Exam day. I rushed through the 6 pages of work and found myself the second person to finish in the packed lecture room. Crap. I impatiently went through the motions of checking over my answers but the seconds ticked by and I, absorbing nothing of what I had written, hurriedly turned in my work and rushed to the journalism department to check in with a professor.
He wasn’t there. What did I need? I don’t remember. It was probably something to do with a graduation detail for next semester that simply couldn’t wait.
I am not a zen garden. I do not practice mindfulness. I don’t have time for that.
I couldn’t focus in my next class either. I wrote stories instead of notes. I drew pictures of clocks instead of sketching Degas’ ballerinas.
The class ended at 2:15 p.m. which is stressful for me as I somehow have to make it to work by 3:00 p.m. It is an hour drive to the station. See the issue? I was anxious to edit my students’ commentaries and record my own voice work.
So I ran, not walked to my car. I fired up the engine and rolled out towards the highway. Hurry, hurry, hurry. It seemed like everyone else and their mother had the same idea as the flow of traffic inched along at a neck-breaking 10 mph below the speed limit.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry. Please.
I do not sing in the car (I don’t sing ever, actually). I’m too impatient for that. I pass the time instead by practicing my radio voice by narrating everything I do.
“Hello, this is Allyson Morin here coming at you live from the middle of goddamn traffic. The weather is a calm and clear 50 degrees but on the inside I am a boiling volcano of impatience,” I said in a sickeningly smooth tone despite frustration at my lack of control over the relentless passage of time. I was going to be late.
I rolled up to a red light, and then another.
“At the top of the hour, scientists are investigating just how high my blood pressure can rise,” I muttered.
It was 3:00 p.m. and with over a half hour left of my commute there was no way I’d make it on time.
At a stop sign I beat my hands in frustration on the dashboard as a steady stream of cars left no gap for me to sneak into.
“Come on! I just need to get to work!” I yelled at the stand still, not noticing the car lurching forward in my rear view mirror.
I didn’t make it to work.
I got a gorgeous dent in the back bumper of my brand new car instead.
In retrospect this whole thing maybe would have been avoided if I wasn’t in such a rush to get to work on time. If I had left a few minutes later I wouldn’t have been waiting at the stop sign while the person behind me wasn’t paying attention.
Although, maybe leaving a few minutes later could have resulted in a worse accident. You never know what would have been.
These last 24 hours have found previous preoccupations placed on the back burner as I deal with my insurance company, body shop, and a hell of a lot of paperwork. It’s crazy how quickly the things I’m worried about cease to matter.
I was grateful that work was understanding about my situation and allowed me to go home and rest.
I took my dogs up into the hills for a walk in the woods. I didn’t look at the clock.