I was driving home the other night, navigating the constantly morphing Montreal Cone Festival and feeling quite proud of myself for my driving abilities. Maybe it’s just my perception but if feels like the tracks they set up get more challenging every year. The lanes get narrower and the twists and turns are more frequent, the potholes throughout the course are bigger, deeper and more numerous, the signage is last minute or nonexistant and the list goes on. If you’ve driven it, you know it! Every day is different as they move it over here, then over there, and then off on yet another convoluted detour. It’s exciting because you never know from one day to the next how you’re going to get to a place to which you think you know the route. Ha, forget it! I can’t speak about other cities but as far as I’m concerned, driving in Montreal is a real exercise in living in the present moment. What you think you figured out yesterday simply does not apply today. It’s a new day and you’ll only know what awaits you when you get out there and face it! And I’m going to tell you right now that I figure I’m doing pretty well with this living in the now thing because I’m still alive to try it again today.
So I think I was on the death challenge course the other night as I drove into a section, a very long section where they have chosen to paint the lines on the highway in a colour that simply cannot be seen at night: orange. It was 11pm and at the last minute, without any warning to speak of, the lanes shifted over so everyone basically does some swerve maneuver to follow the road and once you get past the swerve, you no longer know what lane you’re in. You simply cannot see the lines on the road, there are absolutely no street lights (to conserve energy I suppose) and all the lanes have been narrowed so there is no wiggle room. The 18 wheelers are flying by as usual and we’re all suddenly saying our prayers and hoping for the best. No sooner had I got into this obstacle course that it started to pour rain to the point of completely blocking visibility. I couldn’t see ten feet in front of me and there were no cars ahead at this point to light the way. It was just me and the powers that be. Holy shit! White knuckle moment. I slowed down big time and hoped noone would come flying up behind me. You see, there wasn’t even the option to pull over on the side of the road and wait for the torrential downpour to subside. No, this wasn’t possible because the lanes were surrounded by those cement blocks. Did I say there was no wiggle room. You must continue, no matter what.
I eventually made it to the other side of that death trap and the relief I felt was so great that I didn’t even know whether to laugh or cry. But I did feel pride and joy as I realized just how well we do drive. I picked up speed again as the rain stopped. I was now crossing the bridge and fully in traffic again when suddenly the guy ahead of me does this crazy move as he squeezes himself into the middle lane without warning. “What the….”, I thought to myself. I didn’t get the last word out of my thought when I understood why he did that and realized I had to do the same. Fortunately a very kind person slowed down to let me in. There were a bunch of burning flares scattered just ahead, all over my lane. Again, no warning and what the heck, no reason for them to be there. What would it have taken for whoever lit the flares to pick them up and move them over or put them out before heading off? I don’t know. No time to ask questions anyway. Look where you’re going because it’s another moment now and the flares are behind me, done, over. Forget trying to figure out what is over and look to what’s coming, because anyway, the flares won’t be there tomorrow.
Here’s the thing though…so often I see all these motivational quotes about trust and, honestly, I think we are far more trusting than we realize. Here we lock our doors and go out of our way to protect ourselves from this and that and the other thing, yet when we’re out driving, do we not simply trust that the people ahead of us on the road are going to continue going forward? Do we not trust that they’re not going to suddenly slam on the brakes for no good reason? After all, they could. When I think about how many cars are on the road and all the maneuvers we need to make in order to get to our destinations, I see that there are a lot of things that I don’t even think about, I simply trust that it will happen and that I will actually get to where I’m going. Every so often you see a lunatic driving erratically but when you consider the number of cars on the road, it’s a very small percentage who are out of their minds when they drive.
So for the mostpart, we really do simply trust a lot of what happens on the road. We trust that our cars will get us there, we trust that the people driving around us are going to keep driving the way we expect them too, we trust all kinds of things. And so it goes every day in life really. Have you ever checked the chair you were about to sit your ass on before sitting on it to see if it was going to hold you up? No, I’d venture to say that most of you simply sit down and trust that the chair will hold you up no matter how many years you’ve owned that chair. In fact we trust so much that at times it makes for very funny scenes. Ever seen someone who is headed with determination towards a door and then they go smashing into it because it’s locked? Well I say that that person was assuming that the door was open and they trusted that when they pushed on it it would open.
Do I have a point? Well not really, it’s just that I was thinking about this concept of trust after my adventure on the open roads of Montreal the other night. And I wondered if we aren’t more trusting than we think we are. And what if we weren’t? What if we trusted absolutely nothing…can you imagine what life would be like? Imagine if you first had to fully checked every chair before you sat on it and checked your cup before you poured coffee in it and on and on. I find it exhausting just to think about it.