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Slow down you crazy child

Posted: April 2, 2013 5:00 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A few weeks ago I shared with the community my frustration with the stoplights around town. Since then I have received lots of feedback from locals who share my sentiments as well. However, there is one particular email that has really stuck with me for the past couple of weeks. In this particular email, the sender agreed with my frustrations and feelings regarding being trapped within my vehicle while waiting for a change of color but he also shared something else: "maybe it’s just divine intervention for us all to slow down and reflect on how wonderful life is."

For one reason or another, this thought has stayed with me. Since receiving this email, anytime I’ve started feeling frustrated or annoyed while waiting at a stoplight I think of those words. I think this guy might be onto something. Why am I in such a rush to get past this intersection? Unless I’m running late for work or a wedding or my mom has told me to be home at that very second, there’s really no need for the hurry. The lyrics from a Billy Joel song also come to mind when I think about this. "Where’s the fire? What’s the hurry about?" Exactly Billy, what fire am I racing down the road to put out? More than likely, none of us are ever stopped at a stoplight and in a hurry because something is on fire. Even then, really what could you do about it? Unless you’re a firefighter, then you could probably do a lot. Okay, firefighters you have my permission to be in a rush at a stoplight because you probably are actually going to put out a fire and I think we can all agree that that’s a legitimate reason.

I think a lot of times we get so caught up in the destination (work, home, getting to a restaurant ASAP because we’re really hungry… just me?) that we forget about the time spent getting there. I’m sure I’ve missed out on some very interesting happenings surrounding me at a stoplight in Camden because I’ve just been too caught up in my own fury and anger towards the stoplight instead of just enjoying a moment of stillness. "When will you realize Vienna waits for you?" says Joel. Whatever we’re in a rush to get to will probably still be there upon arrival. Again, unless it’s on fire. Other than that though, your job will (hopefully) still be there unless you’re running like two hours late for the third time that week, the wedding will still be there when you get there just with a very upset bride, upon your arrival.

So, the next time you’re stopped at a stoplight cursing the color red, I challenge you to instead think about the great things that have happened to you recently. Or to wave back at the guy dressed in the statue of liberty costume. For me, I would probably think about the food blessings I’ve received in the past week like Mulberry Market having my favorite chocolate croissant in stock or Everyday Gourmet having my favorite soup on the day that I go in there for lunch. Which isn’t that big of an accomplishment for me since I eat there at the very least every day… But I think that those are the things that are most important. Not the fact that stoplights are unreasonable, the fact that maybe it really is divine intervention that we’re stopped there for so long and have little things to reflect on. These slivers of opportunity in being stopped should be taken advantage of in order to, in the words of Billy Joel, "cool it off before you burn it all out." Because Vienna will still be waiting by the time we get there. Unless it catches on fire. Here’s to slowing down you crazy children because the stoplights aren’t going to speed up anytime soon, so what choice is there really but to just embrace the frustratingly slow change from red to green?

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