When I was in college, my roommate, Doria, and I knew we were soul mates when we both got excited about a new box of Kleenex.
We lived in the attic of an old house, the kitchen was a Health Department citation waiting to be issued, the walls were bright orange, and we had squirrels living up there with us. Our living room couch was so grody, no one wanted to sit on it until we put it on the front porch, where it grew molds and sprouted stuff. But when one of us brought home a new box of tissues from the grocery store and we opened that baby up, you would have thought we just hit the lottery.
Sometimes, when college life got too stressful and we felt like we were on the brink of faking our own kidnapping, binge drinking in the middle of the day, or committing some act of campus violence, we would just take the bus over to the grocery store and buy a new box of Kleenex, rip the perforated top off and calm the hell down.
Instant good mood and sunny outlook.
One time, after doing that, Doria turned to me and said, “It’s the little things, you know?”
It is in that vein that I approach the new traffic light at Tony Penna Drive and Pennock Lane every morning. It absolutely makes my day to approach that light on the short drive to my daughter’s school. Before the light was installed, there was a two-way stop at the intersection, meaning I had to stop but everyone else who was driving perpendicular to my drive could just breeze through, barely steering while sipping their Starbucks, texting, shaving and checking their email.
Besides waiting for an opening in that stream of cars, I had to also deal with kids crossing the street on their way to school, bike riders, and my own anger at the morning drive news on NPR.
Is it possible to get road rage at a tiny little intersection in a tiny little town in suburban Florida? Yes, when it builds up over 186 school days a year; in about the early spring of the second year, yes, it is very possible. That intersection didn't help my state of mind going into the actual school parking lot, which was another morning stress-fest.
So imagine how thrilled I was to see a big truck parked at that intersection one day, along with some wires stretched high across the road. A week later there appeared a flashing sign SIGNAL WILL BE ACTIVATED MARCH 1.
Of course, that wasn’t the actual date the light started working, but still, it’s working now and my morning drive is as soft and fuzzy as a new box of Kleenex.
Some things never change. It’s still the little things.
Labels: Doria, driving to school, house in college, new box of Kleenex, new red light, traffic signal