The Benefits of Driving Just Five More Minutes

It was a long day, full odds-and-ends, balancing finding someone to take the lease on my apartment, tracking down mail from the five different “permanent” addresses I have on any given registry, and also sifting through the “to-pack” and “don’t-pack” piles growing in my room. Yesterday was a long day. In addition to trying to find some time to relax, breathe, and focus (meditate, even), I have slowly lost some of my patience as it relates to completing tasks and/or simply staying “on top” of all my to-do’s. This is quite the change, as I shared with a friend recently, as just a few weeks ago, I could master a project or list faster than anyone I know. It was a solid skill, really (shoutout to Tinker Air Force Base Elementary School for the seven years of typing lessons I received from K-6 grade). 

In the meantime, I have officially “started” my new job, and for the week, have been working out of Marble Falls, which sits just outside of Austin for all those familiar with Central Texas. Marble Falls is a quaint lake town, and generously houses the camp I love so dear, one which has prompted many of my posts or comments re: the power of summer camp. Being around camp people is always quite refreshing, and has been a nice breather since I left the hustle and bustle of my previous job. Bittersweet, is probably a better way to view this change of pace. Yes, bittersweet. 

I have been spending as much time on the lake and outside as possible. Thankfully, one of the year-round staff members just so happens to also be a really good friend of mine, and has been a great co-pilot to this processing and adjusting. But again, yesterday was a long day. Aside from it being 3,000 degrees in Texas at the moment (okay, maybe not 3,000,’ but close), I thought going on a mid-day walk would be a nice way to get in some exercise (/get some steps clocked on my Fitbit). I was wrong. Twenty minutes in, which as we know means you still have twenty minutes “back,” I was instantly drenched in my own sweat. I quickly walked back to the office, with somewhat of a bad attitude. To turn the day around, and also add somewhat of a cool-down, aforementioned-friend and I decided to go to the pool to swim around and relax a bit. Ten minutes into our pool-time, an almost-black cloud crept closer and closer to us as we visited and chatted about life and love and a slew of other deep and intense sentiments. 

You see, aforementioned-friend has a social work background. In fact, the title of this post should actually be listed, “Why Everyone Should Have A Social Worker As A Good Friend,” however I’ll let that simmer and revisit this assumption in a later post. Needless to say, this friend and I have the tendency to get super deep and evaluative of our self and others (self). It’s a benefit and a detriment, but ultimately a powerful person to have in your life. Back to said-almost-black-creeping-cloud. Before we knew it, and looking all around us, said-cloud immediately started pouring rain on us. Cole rain. Hard rain. It was ridiculous, and awesome, and completely unexpected. Of course, we both screamed like school boys and ran to grab our stuff. We retrieved our belongings and immediately darted for the car (verbally conscious of the Fitbit-steps we would be accumulating during our 100-meter dash). We got in the car and headed back to the house, and just as we were about to get out of the car and head inside, I looked at aforementioned-friend and said, “Let’s dance in the rain.” 

Aforementioned-friend laughed me off, and then looked back and asked, “Wait, are you serious?” 

“Yeah, let’s go-”

And just as quick as lightening, aforementioned-friend and I were running around the front yard, laughing and giggling, screaming and dancing, and unapologetically worshiping the rain. It was beautiful, and a moment of carelessness which hasn’t been experienced but only a few times in my life. I needed this. Desperately. There were so many metaphors racing through my head, but for that five minutes of dancing and frolicking, I was able to just be in the, “now.” Present and accounted for, ready and eager for this particular moment. 

Before we knew it, dinnertime had arrived, though, which if you know me well, you know that means these moments, though wonderful and clearly relevant, should be short-lived due to my “hangry” nature (it gets to a certain point, then I’m no longer pleasant). Aforementioned-friend and I dried off and headed for the highway, with great hopes of finding a Subway or something “low-fat” to not make us feel even more like overweight-ogres. Just as we neared an area of life (which, in small town just means a gas station and a few TexMex joints), aforementioned-friend looked at me and said, “Let’s drive just five more minutes and see what else could be out here.” 

And so, we drove five more minutes. Just as we neared the fifth minute, we turned a corner, only to find a giant sign reading, “PURPLE PIG BBQ,” sitting nicely on the left side of the road. Almost in unison, we both screamed, “Let’s go there!” As we parked in the empty lot, we noticed a man in the grass just adjacent to the restaurant walking in the grass with, what looked like, a small rat running around next to him. We got out of the car, and both looked at said-man and yelled, “PUPPY!” There running around next to this restaurant was, “Ellie,” a six-week old, precious-angel pup. Those who know me well will assert, #TeamPuppy, was in full-effect. There’s a chance this restaurant paid said-puppy-owner to lure aformentioned-friend and I into this place, and needless to say, it worked! 

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A giant plate of meat later, and two servings of black-berry and peach cobbler, aforementioned-friend and I were basically licking the plates and bowls clean (if ever presented with an opportunity to get black-berry or peach cobbler, get both – always get both). Aforementioned-friend likes to laugh at me, as food will always equal my total coping mechanism, and one summer a few years ago, she and I consumed approximately 5 family-size bags of Doritos in just one three-week period (there may or may not have been bin or Oreos at some point, as well). Aforementioned-friend totally gets me, and as we drove home, we both processed the bad day, and how just that one opportunity to dance in the rain really changed everything. What if one of us had been too stubborn to get dinner, or even too impatient to push ourselves to drive that extra five minutes, thus finding the best meal of my summer? 

You see, it’s like that moment while driving, when you switch lanes, only to watch your previously-occupied lane pass you by. How often do we give it (whatever, “it,” might be for each of us) just five more minutes? Hell, how often are we patient for just five more seconds? How often is the PURPLE PIG BBQ (or whatever the, “PURPLE PIG BBQ,” is for you) just moments away from us without even knowing? Push yourself to see that incoming-black cloud as a possibility to dance, rather than a rain on your parade. Challenge yourself to see “five more minutes” as a chance for a better meal and better perspective, rather than a barrier to your hungry-ways. And finally, aspire to have someone in your life like aforementioned-friend, one who makes you a better and more aware person. Be a better and more aware person. 

Wet, 

Michael 

2 thoughts on “The Benefits of Driving Just Five More Minutes

  1. It’s really, really important to have at least one Social Worker in your inner circle, especially if your Social Worker friend is this aforementied-friend. Would any of us be sane without her? Thank goodness we don’t have to find out.

    Like

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