Exhaust pokes its finger into my mouth, like a dentist, smearing its metallic pate across taste buds deadened by overly hot coffee. Inch by inch, the caravan of steel and plastic winds its red light parade through green grass hills toward the haze of the city.
Everyone trying to get somewhere.
Tenuously, one hand digs into a shiny black attache searching for elusive notes among multi-colored charts and spreadsheets of numbers that read like hieroglyphics. Furrows form in the smooth grey steering wheel, as he grips for control, his attention drifting here and there. Meetings. Deadlines. Evaluations. Budgets. Promotions. Coffee sloshes from the cup between his legs unleashing a primal scream from deep within, sending an avalanche of reports into the floor board. His castles of sand all wash away as his sanity drips down his cheeks in tears.
Mommy, what's wrong with that man?
Can you please just sit down in your seat, hisses through teeth streaked pink with lipstick she applies in the rear view mirror. Her internal Outlook calendar scrolls across her mind...daycare, mom's meeting, doctors appointment, soccer practice, piano lessons, dinner party, Desperate Housewives, bed. A cascading domino of brake lights drags a lash of pink up her cheek, distorting her face into a gruesome smile. Mommy, you look like the Joker, echoes the way that she feels, as she looks for an exit ramp.
Sometimes, life can feel like traffic. Trying to get from one thing to the next, and everyone getting in your way, as they try to get from one thing to the next. There always seems to be one more thing to do. We make lists and check them off, marking progress toward the moment we can lay our heads on the pillow and lay awake, staring at the ceiling thinking about the next thing.
There has got to be a better way.
Finding a space in the parking garage, I pop the top from a red felt tip pen, scrawling Make room to truly live with the people you love, they will remember that more than the traffic across the top of my to-do list. Then add an exclamation point.