Every winter I celebrate Collision’s Day by getting into a new one. It’s a dance I can’t quite escape, leaving me f*cked (over) in all the wrong ways.
The manifestation of this perpetual pattern is not unlike my penchant for attracting 30-year-old Italian-men(children)-who-still-live-at-home-and-do-not-have-a-university-degree. But I’ll save that story for another day.
If insanity is doing the same thing (even if inadvertently) over and over again and expecting different results, how the heck can we break the cycle of our patterns (romantic and otherwise)?
Phase 1: Flirting with
Desire immobile objects
I got my license when I was 16 with the intention of driving around Woodbridge (a suburb of Toronto) trying to attract male attention from Italian boys who still lived at home (oh how times have changed). My high school comrades and I would sing to loud dance music and hang out in various parking lots. I got jiggy with a few curbs and parked cars in my day. Not quite the parking lot action I was seeking, but we all have to start somewhere. This phase ended when I hit my uncle’s parked car, while backing out of my parent’s driveway. Yikes.
Phase 2: Gimme More (Action)
One fine Boxing Day, I rear-ended a car at a red light, reaching for a sandwich in the back seat (home girl had to re-fuel). So technically I still hit an immobile object, but we were on the open road so I’ll call that progress.
A couple years later, I drove downtown to my best friend’s birthday, an activity I normally did with my EX. It was February and I was sweating thinking about finding a spot close enough to avoid sexual assault and frost bite. I saw a PARK HERE sign and promptly turned in from the middle lane of a one-way street. Luckily, the guy I hit worked at a body shop, so we settled under the table for the bargain price of $1,500. Finally, a moving object!
Phase 3: (Dangerously) Drunk in Love
A couple years later (2013), I was driving across the city to pick up EX #2 for my cousin’s birthday. I was five minutes from his house, battling stop and go traffic on the highway, when I was rear-ended. This time I cried and shook from shock. The police came and my car was in the shop for days while I drove a rental. My “bad driver status” seemed less comical but I remained unafraid.
Cut to 2014, when I totalled my car. It was a culmination of snowy road conditions, road rage from commuting two hours a day (three years straight) and frantically searching for peace (attending bi-monthly energy and weekly CBT sessions while balancing a full-time job). I was T-boned turning left and experienced two firsts: riding in an ambulance and stitches. But it wasn’t all bad.
My driving has since been restricted to weekends, borrowing the car from my parents in order to run errands. Some might call this coming full circle. The scar on my forehead reminds me to slow down and proceed with more caution.
Phase 4: Just one more little, tiny booty call
But the open road beckoned like a bad boy I couldn’t resist. This past weekend I decided to drive halfway across the city, in yet another snowstorm, to attend a friend’s yoga class (I loathe plan bailers and would not let the snow win).
I was ten minutes from my destination (after 40 slushy minutes on the road) when I stopped at a yellow light instead of turning left. While waiting for the next green, a driver skidded and hit my rear passenger door (after hitting the guy beside me). I WAS NOT EVEN MOVING. THE CAR BEHIND ME WAS STOPPED. AND I STILL GOT HIT. Hey, at least I wasn’t doing the hitting this time.
Clearly Driving + Me = A Bad Romance. But what does it all mean?
Besides needing to be rich enough to hire a driver (Christian Grey styles) or marrying a mechanic who moonlights as an Ex-Copper employee…
It has to be some sort of wake up call or warning. I don’t want the lesson to be: give up on driving or dating (because of past hurts). I don’t want to live in fear or approach new situations with negative baggage from the past.
I do think we need to exercise better judgement (and when I say we, I really mean “me”). If a scenario looks like it could be a train wreck, perhaps we shouldn’t tempt faith or place risky bets. We can compare the pros and cons and choose an easier route. I know that whenever I push too hard to make something happen, it just doesn’t. Yet when I sink into the rhythm of life’s natural flow, the results are much sweeter.
So let’s approach life with eyes wide open, fully focused on the task at hand, while trying to view situations sans filter. And remember, we are ready for whatever happens next. The scars and bumps along the way only add to our character. Whatever is meant to be will be, no matter how careful we are.
The course of our lives can change in an instant. How cool is that?
*Heavy use of sarcasm at plan. Also please don’t drink and drive.