Life lessons from the road. None having to do with a pervy uncle.
By Kimberly Lew (Playwright/Blogger)
I had my permit for a couple of years before I got my license, and in my time accruing the practice hours to get that badge of honor, I drove long hours on family road trips, everyday errands, and in an assortment of weather conditions. By the time I took my test, I was more than ready.
My dad taught me a lot of the basics. It was with him that I took my first big, "holy shit I might actually be an adult" trip to the mall. He talked me through my first experience on 400, my first time driving on the highway.
But most of all, he taught me how to anticipate.
When driving, he explained, you not only want to watch the car in front of you, but also the car in front of it through their rear window. The trick is to be able to see when the car two vehicles ahead is braking so that you're not stuck throwing on the brakes if the car ahead of you suddenly decides to stop.
This advice particularly spoke to the slightly neurotic, pessimist side of me. Why wait for disaster to come to you if you can see it further up the road? This philosophy behind how I learned to drive has been adapted to how I walk through the crowded Times Square, how I approach new projects for work, how I plan vacations, and how I try to approach each day.
The method has worked for me so well that I thought that everyone subscribed to this way of thinking. But recently I realized that not everyone watches three cars ahead. Some people barrel on down the highway, stopping short and speeding by. They're not always aware of other people, and they react rather than anticipate. And the truth is that we often still get to the same destination.
One way of driving is not necessarily "better" than the other. The important thing is that we're aware of each other and learn how to share the road. We can be great assets to one another if we can understand the mechanics of how each other operates. At least then we can share that small strip of highway before one of us takes an exit.
KIMBERLY LEW is a playwright with two published one-act plays for high schools, as well as full-length Searching for Candi (co-written with Gabriella Miyares), which debuted at Mt. Holyoke college. Her latest play, Other People's Children, was recently featured as a part of The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective's new works reading series and was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O'Neill Playwrights Conference. She also created/manages the Emerging Musical Theatre blog. www.kimberlylew.com
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