Thursday, November 22, 2007

Traveling on the eve of Thanksgiving

We relived the gridlock nightmare yesterday when we drove to Gainesville to fetch WT back for the Thanksgiving holidays. The going trip was not as bad, and we reached UF about half an hour later than the ETA of 3pm. The campus was kind of deserted, most classes in the afternoon having being canceled to give more time for the students to head home. So was WT's last class of the day.

Just before we hit the road on the return leg.

Matter turned for the worse on the return trip. Just getting on to I-75 via the Archer exit from the Campus took us about 20 minutes compared to 5 minutes during normal times. Then it was crawling all the way to Ocala, taking us more than an hour to cover 30 miles. Fortunately, traffic improved slightly after Ocala and significantly after the turnoff to Tampa at the turnpike entrance. But we still reached home about one hour later than usual.

The seemingly endless caravan, like a slithering serpent winding its way forward.

Traffic on the northbound lanes were less congested. We surmised this could be due to the fact that most people prefer to leave for home after lunch. So the wave of northbound traffic could have passed Gainesville by then (4.30pm) while the southbound traffic just about joined us at about the same time (say, those coming from Atlanta/Tallahassee).

Anyway, the “ordeal” seemed more bearable than last year's. Perhaps this has to do with a change in my attitude consequent upon my immersion in the teachings of Buddha during the intervening year. The Buddha taught that everything is a reflection and creation of the mind. Therefore the changes in our emotional state, from sad to happy, from elation to despondency, from being on the top of the world to the gutters, from accolades to unfair criticisms, all have their roots in our changing mind.

Instead of getting impatient at the snail's pace, and even raving and ranting leading to temperature rising, we could use the opportunity to take a breather, to engage in some much needed interactions with our passengers, take in the moving scenery lining both sides of the highway, a slow-mo of sort, or simply observe life as it unfolds before you. Hey, the driver in front has two dogs in the car, and the luggage filling up to the brim of the trunk (it's a SUV). Or the couple in the convertible was having an animated conversation, perhaps debating whether to take to the air come next Thanksgiving.

Would you believe it if I say the white speck is the moon? No kidding. Henceforth the myth that the moon only appears on the night sky shall hereby be debunked.

Amidst all these observations, until nightfall took over and all I could see were the taillights, like the red eyes of some prancing kids bouncing along on the highway, we reached home safely, tired but thankful for being able to put the feet up and engrossed in a captivating episode of Criminal Mind, featuring a group of profilers in the Behavioral Assessment Unit (BAU) of FBI, but this time involving a crime against one of their very own.

Here wify was trying to catch the setting sun, with her sunglasses on looking through the lens, and not seeing the sun through that aperture. Logical?

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