Simon, that devil may care Aussie, GPS dude of mine, instructs me to turn left 2 miles ahead. Between the 2 miles and traffic, there are songs and conversations and suddenly measurements; “300 yards ahead turn left” followed by numbers on the screen 180, .90, .85,.… As I get into the left turning lane, and begin to turn, Simon goes haywire, recalibrating, finding a new route, throwing me off. I’m wondering why Simon can’t provide a few landmarks for me to “see” on the screen. The numbers do nothing for me. The street names he calls out are frequently impossible to see, or the roads are unmarked altogether. The street naming and labeling system varies from town to town, state to state. Arghhhhh! Simon!!!! How the hell do I make sense of all this?
When my son rides shot-gun it isn’t much better. I ask him to please tell me ahead of time what to look for. I want him to share perhaps the next step to come. He can’t fathom my requests. “Why can’t you just listen to Simon?” he asks. I can barely listen to this. There’s noise; the radio, other cars, distant sirens. There’s interference and distractions; other cars that may not really care that Simon just instructed me to turn, they are hot on my tail. “Why cant you just help me out?” I implore, then continue, “I can’t always turn right away, and I’m not so hot understanding '300 yards ahead' while I’m driving.” “Simon is telling you the street names, let go, just listen, trust Simon.” he responds, in his chill-laxing, dead-head inspired voice for the occasion. “The street names are not always visible.” I practically whine. “Why can’t you just tell me what’s up ahead? I need a visual. I’m not so good with listening while driving.” I reply. The reality is I’m old school, I like maps. I like the way you needed to study a map to some extent. You knew some surrounding street names or possibly, land marks. You had to touch it, and look closely at it. You had to understand the features and how to read it. But something else seems to be coming into focus just under this conversation…
Simon always takes you there. He always gets you where you need to go, the fastest, easiest way. Just listen. My son tries to work me through this. I like visuals. I need to see. And then it clicks. It’s a conversation I am having elsewhere in my life. It is going just as well, or just as futile. I fight it, myself, those around me. I'll get there. Listen. Just have to quiet myself, and the noise all around me, and listen. Not unlike the traffic, my life is full of the sirens, the impending doom, potential accidents, missteps, false starts, sudden halting stops, beeps and grinds and squeals. I do this lately. I add all of this to my day to day living. My mind is full of all the potential concerns, and accidents and issues. This wasn't always the case. I can “see” all of this, clearly, like a traffic control engineer. Just as clearly I can see the blossoming trees and green covered hills and babbling brooks awaiting if you follow this path, even if you have to pay a few tolls and follow a detour along the way. I am constantly attempting to route and reroute the fastest, easiest course to a destination I have envisioned and know full well, will be worth the trip. Trust me. Listen. Can't you see? Only I’m not a traffic control engineer and I can only see the road from my driver’s seat.“Lissssssstennnnnnn,” he continues “that’s all you need to do”. I let go, I have no other choice, really. There are others around me in fast moving vehicles that will cause great damage if I move too fast, turn suddenly, or stop unexpectedly. I reveal to him the profoundness of this moment. “Ahhh, this is a big moment for me, I have been told this elsewhere of late” (throughout, really). “What’s going on, you aren’t listening to the GPS of your life, Simon on the big journey?” He nails it, this guru-esque chillaxed son. “Yeah, something like that" I mutter.
I have been wanting for someone to read the map of me. To look closely at the features. Know what’s coming and maybe where I’ve been or where I started off from. I have built maps and added every detail. I installed traffic lights, bridges and even repaved a few roads that were in disrepair. I Google Earthed, topograph-i-sized, added street names of every dead end, bump, and wart, as well as every, amusement ride, rest stop and scenic viewpoint. I sent traffic alerts and updates. I didn't pay attention to the fact that he doesn’t have any final destination in view just yet. In fact his car is parked. I, on the other hand, have attempted to bulldoze the road and pave it myself, all journey bound and forward moving. Suddenly I see, more importantly, I hear. I take off my helmet and set it on the road under construction and decide to continue on my journey. No telling what’s up ahead. It’s time to simply enjoy the scenery.
A few weeks ago, Simon gave me this profoundly deep message, “If you want to reach your destination, begin.”
Simon says, “Start the engine”. Simon says, “Go”. Simon says, “Put it in cruise control, sit back and enjoy the ride”. Did anyone pack the licorice? Where’s my mix tape from 1983? Did I pack the camera? How much gas do I have left?