Monday, May 20, 2019

Searching For Yellow Cars

image: CC low probability by banalities
I have a 30 mile commute round-trip to work every day. I hate every minute of it. I get in my car and my stomach tightens, dreading the next 30-45 minutes, knowing I'll encounter every jerk on the planet (or at least in central Florida) on my way to and from work. Before I even leave my apartment complex, I'll be confronted with a person blowing off a stop sign, and with someone tearing around the corner into the wrong lane, causing me to swerve dangerously close to the parked cars in order to avoid being hit head-on. As I wait for a break in traffic so I can pull out onto the street, I'll meet the people who, despite the fact they're stopped at a red light and have literally no place they can go, will not let me out. I'll also meet the person behind me who gets impatient waiting, pulls around me, and darts out into traffic the second the light changes causing several people to slam on their brakes.

I'll meet the people who drive 20 miles under the speed limit for no particular reason, I'll meet the ones who play pole position, weaving in and out of traffic attempting to get just one car ahead, and I'll meet the people who fly through red lights. I'll experience the ones who drive just barely the speed limit in the passing lane, oblivious to the fact there's a string of cars tailgating him in an attempt to encourage him to move over.

My exit is always backed up at least a mile and this is where I encounter the worst of the worst - those people who are so privileged (in their minds anyway), they don't need to wait in line like the rest of us filthy peasants. No, they can just speed along to the very front, bypassing the 10+ minute wait, and cut in front of everyone else patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting their turns.

My drive home includes half a dozen jaywalkers who are seemingly trying to get themselves run over, construction traffic, and a toll that narrows from 5 lanes to 1.

By the time I arrive at my destination, I'm so stressed out I vow to become a hermit and never leave my home again. Seriously, when I grow up, I'm going to be a hermit. I can combine that dream with my Cat Plan! It's brilliant! I'll move to a cabin in the middle of Montana, adopt 27 cats, and spend my days in my bathrobe eating Ben & Jerry's from the carton and washing it down with sangria. I'll be livin' the dream! But until that glorious day, I decided I needed to make a change (besides looking for a closer job!)

I recently heard something about looking for yellow cars. There aren't a whole lot of yellow cars on the road, right? You see them infrequently. Until you start looking for them. Then suddenly, they're everywhere! It's called the Yellow Car Phenomenon. Now of course there aren't more yellow cars on the road when you're searching for them. They've been there all along. When you shift your paradigm, however, you notice them. And that's the thing - you'll find what you're looking for. So you have to ask yourself - what am I looking for?

When I leave for work expecting to encounter entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerks, I find them. When you enter your meeting expecting a terrible outcome, you'll find it. When you think your boss, coworkers, or family will let you down, they will. Every time.

But when you change your way of thinking, amazing things can happen. 

I was visiting a friend who works part-time in a gift shop situated in an independent living/assisted living home for seniors. A resident was perusing the shop and struck up a conversation with us. She went on to complain about the marinade that was on the chicken at lunch, the food in general, and the chef himself. She lamented the lack of activities, the fact there aren't enough people who like to play cards, and how she can't even go shopping because it's like she's a prisoner there. Now this home is a pretty luxurious place with many amenities, activities galore, and a bus that takes them to local shopping and restaurants every day. But this woman was ultra-focused on everything negative. And she seemed pretty unhappy.

Then there's my Aunt Vasiliki. She's had many health issues over the years. She's a breast cancer survivor. She was divorced at a pretty young age and never remarried. She lost her parents while they were still young and recently lost her sister. She probably has cause to be bitter. But I have never seen her without a smile and a laugh. She also lives in an independent/assisted living home, and let me tell ya, she's never in her apartment! Because she's busy playing cards, doing puzzles, driving someone to a doctor's appointment, reshelving books in their little library, eating with friends, making jewelry, and anything else that looks like fun. Everyone knows my aunt and enjoys her contagiously effervescent company.

When I drive to school this week, I'm going to look for yellow cars - those people who let others in. Those who patiently wait their turn. Those who aren't consumed with road rage, and those who do stop at red lights, let pedestrians cross, and use their turn signals. I'll remember that there are good people in the world. Will the entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate buttheads still be there? Of course they will. They always will. But time is too short, and life is too precious to concern myself with them. I will choose to focus on the positive and will continue to strive to be the kind of person that makes other people feel good; not the kind that makes other people want to throat-punch me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)


Dianne said...

Thank you for making me think. I am going to look for those yellow cars.

Sara said...

Thank you for that important reminder!! I needed it today more than ever!! Blessings!!

Unknown said...

Hi Dawn,
Put a recording of Colyn's laughter on you playlist and punch it on every two miles. It will keep a smile on your face and give you a reason to stay positive.
Sandy Marcks

Cindy said...

Great post! And so true, if you focus on the negative, that's what you'll see! Thank you for this great reminder to focus on the positive and all the people who are doing good.

Sharlyn said...

Beautifully written ❤️. Amen.

Vanessence7 said...

It sounds like a great plan, and I have no doubt you will succeed. :)

Philippians 4:8, NIV: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

Sheila said...

Specifically about assisted living: my grandparents were in an assisted living facility their last few years. My grandma LOVED it, everything. She loved not having to cook or clean or look after my grandpa's medication, she loved the activities available and the people to talk to, she just loved it all. My grandpa hated it. He felt trapped and miserable and just wanted to get back to his garden and his cows. (He hadn't had cows for 40 or more years.) We all understood that their different feelings about the place were partly because of their personalities (my grandma an extrovert, my grandpa an introvert) and partly because of their health (my grandma was mentally completely fine but was struggling physically after a broken hip, my grandpa was very slightly more mobile but very confused mentally), but I remember my mom pointing out at the time that if they had ONLY heard Grandpa's side of the story, they would have had concerns about the home, but Grandma's side helped them to have real perspective.

Gigi said...

That is just the shift I need to remember when I get so aggravated with people and their arrogance (mainly while in the car!).

Ernie said...

Well I have been a little off today. Must be hormones or the fact that there are many balls up in the air in my life at the moment and it is making me a little anxious borderline teary. This was a good post. Thanks for the positive vibe! You could also start looking for white vans that look like painter vans but they are just big family cars. Then you might spot me. Although I am not in Florida. :)

peg said...

I'm one of those people that drive a yellow car. It's such a happy, cheerful color. I hope seeing my little yellow puddle-jumper brings a smile to someone's day. I find the typical car colors so bland and depressing. I hope they bring back more colorful car colors. It seems the car companies need a bigger box or crayons to play with. They're stuck on white, black, red, navy, gray and silver. I'm the kind of person with a lilac bedroom, mauve kitchen and no white or beige walls. Color definitely influences mood. I'm looking to update my kitchen, since I painted it mauve when I bought the house 27 years ago. Maybe periwinkle this time. :-)

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