Monday, November 07, 2016

Curbing Expectations

As I ride to work each morning, I encounter plenty of cars double-parked with their engines running waiting for their partner or carpool to wander out to the street to meet them. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to pass by as their Bluetooth phone connection offers me a sample of their patience or lack thereof: "Hey! Where are you?"
"Oh man, I just woke up."
"We gotta go."
"Give me five minutes."
By now I have pedaled on past, leaving their testy moments for them to sort out, and I continue on my way. I am happy that I am riding on a one-seater with no concern for passengers. Then I reflect on a time when I used to be.
In my senior year of high school, I drove my girlfriend to school just about every morning. I cannot say that I was conscious of leaving my motor running, but at least I parked at the curb. I did not impede traffic. Initially, I would park and walk up to her back door which was left unlatched so that I could step inside and have a seat on the couch while the morning's ablutions and preparations were completed. I should note here that during this period, I was not her boyfriend, but just a friend who was really nice and lived nearby and therefore easily dispatched to deliver my good friend to school in a timely fashion. And for all those mornings as I sat uncomfortably on the end of that couch while I waited for my locker partner to be ready to face the day, I was acutely aware of my position as the only male in a divorced mother's house.
Later, when circumstances changed as did my status, it became apparent that it was less appropriate for me to be hanging out in my now girlfriend's living room in the early morning hours. This sentiment was also announced by her mother and reinforced by the often tempestuous nature of our relationship.
So I moved back outside to the curb, where I kept the motor running and the heater on, radio blasting away. In a world without cell phones, I had to live on the expectation that eventually that sliding patio door would open and I would reach over to let her in so we could be on our way. Some mornings I would be peering at my watch when she got to my car, and the day would begin with a time-based bit of tension and a race to find a parking spot in front of the high school.
But I never double-parked.

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