carpool lane debris

by Kristen

The seconds and minutes pass by at such a speed I miss most of them. A few noteworthy ones jump out, but most are behind me before I knew they were before me.

That’s life.

This morning an accident occurred miles ahead of me. I sat in one of the thousands of cars stuck in its wake. And as I inched along a stretch of freeway in single-digit miles per hour, I noticed the things I race by every other day.

Along the center median I saw a man’s dress shirt: white with blue stripes. How did a dress shirt come to rest on the freeway? Did it fly out a window? Or did paramedics cut it off someone at the scene of an accident?

For several miles I inventoried all the debris along the center divider. There must have been a story behind each blown out tire tread, hubcap and car bumper; but those were far less intriguing than the lid to the 52-quart Igloo cooler, the pillow or the shovel handle and thirty feet later the shovel blade . . . for a snow shovel. The six-foot metal pipe and the splintered two by fours seemed less out of place than the orange hard hat that was missing a quarter of its left side. And the foam insert for a microphone case and the cargo shorts—doesn’t someone need those?

As I noticed each item left behind—whether intentionally or accidentally—I wondered what I leave in my aftermath.

What stories are attached to the moments trailing behind me, the ones I rush past without a second thought day after day after day?

Sometimes I need an event out of my control to slow me down and give me space to notice the narrative I’m writing with my life.


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