When my first son was born 25 years ago, the obstetrician gave the following advice prior to checking us out of the hospital: “Let the world pass you by for a while.” Well, I took the good doctor up on his suggestion and I’ve been letting the world pass me by for the past two and a half decades, something I can prove as fact since I don’t know the names of any of the Kardashians and I’m doing my damnedest not to know who is running for president in November. The world has almost completely passed me by and I’m more than OK with that; I am downright tickled pink.
It’s not like I haven’t participated in society; I’ve just participated in society as little as possible. Consequently there have been moments when I’ve wondered if perhaps I haven’t missed some big announcements because a lot of the rules I remember have changed, particularly when it comes to driving. Like the ever so sensible Four Second Rule.
The Four Second Rule was drummed into my head by Miss Bradshaw, the driver’s ed teacher who doubled as our gym teacher back in the Dark Ages when driver’s ed was actually part of a high school’s curriculum and parents didn’t have to pay exorbitant amounts to driving schools to avoid having to get in the same car with their teenage offspring. The Four Second Rule stated that keeping four seconds behind the car in front of you helped keep you alive in case said car slammed on its brakes to avoid a squirrel/dog/UFO, thus giving you a little more time to slam on your brakes.
It takes approximately two minutes of driving nowadays to realize that the Four Second Rule has been revoked and replaced with the No Second Rule, a rule that apparently states that it’s fine and dandy to try and play tag with the car ahead of you. Personally, I deal with tailgaters as passively aggressively as possible and do my best to treat them the way I treat all rude people: ignore them and hope they’ll go away.
My father was not one to give advice but one thing he did tell me oh so many years ago has always stuck in my mind. One day he took me practice driving and noticed that I was looking in the rear view mirror almost as much as I was looking through the windshield (another driving habit Miss Bradshaw drummed into my sixteen-year old mind). Irritated by my lack of attention on the road ahead of us Dad told me, “Don’t worry about what’s behind you; focus on what’s coming at you.”
He meant while driving but I think that suggestion can apply to life in general. Forget about what’s over and focus on what’s ahead. Ignore the tailgaters and embrace the Four Second Rule. It not only will give you a little more time to mull over your options, it might just keep you from hitting a UFO.
I like my father’s advice but I think I’m going to keep on avoiding the world as long as possible. Life is so much simpler that way.