Lately, I've been thinking a lot about all of the advice I've received over the years - even if it was disguised as simple conversations or opinions. It seems to me that some of it applies to more circumstances than the one in which it was given. So today I come to the advice given to me by two very different boyfriends about driving.
"Don't get ahead of the evidence" has almost become one of Art's favorite sayings. While we were still watching CSI, he frequently would point out how the plot went awry when a character "got ahead of the evidence." What does that have to do with driving? Well, it corresponds nicely with and conveys the same message as "don't overdrive your vision," another Art favorite. In both instances, the individual is being cautioned about getting too far ahead of themselves . . . making wedding plans when you've only had a first date, assuming that you just can't lose any weight when you fail to lose a pound the first day . .... Getting ahead of yourself fails to recognize that much of life depends on laws of averages. There will be good days; there will be not so good days. Bank on all good days and prepare to be broke; bank on all bad days and prepare to be broken hearted. Overdriving your vision makes you susceptible to hitting animals in the road, driving off the road entirely or getting into accidents. Both in driving and in life, getting ahead of the evidence diminishes your capacity to predict the future and adjust to it.
But sometimes, it does pay to look ahead. A long time ago, my college boyfriend Pat and I were driving along the Sonoma Coast. I was behind the wheel and I think he was urging me to pass a car. The Sonoma Coast is as curvaceous as a young Marilyn Monroe and I am lucky if I don't get sick, let alone have the courage to pass a car. We were probably on the cusp of an argument when he pointed out a long snaking, loop back of road ahead. He pointed out that, even though I could barely see a car length distance immediately in front of me, I could predict the traffic ahead because the loop back created essentially a long straight away length of traffic I could view and predict. So despite the fact my immediate vision was blocked, I had gained the capacity to predict the future. Of course it isn't an infallible future vision. All it would take is one car pulling back onto the road from the shoulder or a car emerging from a driveway I didn't see and I could have a nasty surprise, but in cases where an individual's vision is lacking, it could give a means to begin forward momentum. Remember that nasty first break up? What if you had seen the long road your life would take in the future? Would it still have seemed like the end of the world? Awareness that unpleasantness or unhappiness or pain is happening in this moment only and there is an entire stream of moments drifting along in the future, each with their own separate potential to be good or bad or neutral, can be a great equalizer or neutralizer in moments of panic. Watching the rhythms of life and reflecting on their patterns can help you outlive economic failures, make money in down stock markets, buy goods at discount prices, never run out of toilet paper (lol) . . . the possibilities are endless. Observing the rhythms of the road can help you navigate highways; observing the rhythms of world and the people in it can help you navigate life.
The challenge, then, is not what we see or how we see it; but to use the proper vision at the proper time.