Once upon a time I had an epiphany, an epiphany about time. My recollection of the event, of letting go of my slavish dependence to time, is crystal clear.
2008, November, my sister in-law was moving from a remote location in Washington state to an even more remote location in the heart of Tennessee and was down in Tampa to pick up a load of household goods we had acquired. We loaded up a cargo trailer, my Dodge Ram pickup, my sister in-law’s huge Dodge van and an S-10 pickup and headed out.
It should have taken a long day to get to Deer Lodge.
We couldn’t get out of the front yard without a minor disaster: the trailer hitch jammed itself into the dirt but thanks to a landscaping crew passing by at that exact moment we were quickly unstuck and on our way.
Then the trailer’s left tire shredded itself up where I-275 and I-75 merge. I was all zen about having to take the tire off to go replace it. I first stopped at Sam’s Club but they didn’t have trailer tires and that I needed to go to the next exit off of I-75 for a real tire store where they did put a new tire on the wheel. I then went back south, well past where the girls were waiting, loop around and meet back up with them. I quickly replaced the tire and we headed to the tire store to replace the other one.
But it turns out the S-10 was not up to the job of pulling the trailer so we switched it to the Van which easily handled it but it didn’t have the proper electrical connection for the trailer’s turn indicators and tail lights so we found an auto parts store where they fashioned an electrical adaptor and send us on our way. Also I took the helm of the S-10 at this time and Chris, my wife, drove the Ram pickup.
We made it to Lake City and found a hotel by sun-down. A friend who was tracking our progress reported we were making an average speed of nine miles-per-hour; wow.
The next morning we made an easy-going start but hit bad traffic and very heavy rains in Atlanta. We made the mistake of taking the bypass route which was jammed with road-raging truck drivers one of which tried to run me off the road. I’d like to point out the S-10 was in a rough condition: bad windshield wipers, no music, loud muffler, and a uncomfortable seat but I was being all zen about it. We made it to north Georgia that night.
The next morning we took off and checked out a job site in Knoxville and got new wipers for the S-10 (yay) before continuing on to her new property in Deer Lodge. Let me put it this way: you get off the interstate and on to a state road, you then get off the state road and on a county road, take a turn off the county road and onto a local road which leads to a country road then a dirt road and then to a steep gravel private driveway to her place.
It was a wood tent in the middle of nowhere. And there were no leaves on the trees and it was gray and rainy and it was cold and I was miserable.
As soon as we pulled in I sized up the situation and was all ready to unload the cargo and head home, right away.
Chris saw my discomfort and got us a room at a LaQuinta twenty miles away where we had hot water (none at the property and no water and no toilet) and electricity and wi-fi and soft beds.
So we got Cailin settled into her place and spent a day there. Monday, we gassed up the van so Cailin and Chris could drive back to Washington to get more stuff and I gassed up the Ram so I could drive home. I mapped the route and committed it memory (pre-smartphone era) before taking off.
I headed south on state road 127, down the Sequatchie Valley. I reset the trip odometer and noted the time and in my head calculated my ETA.
“NO!” I told myself (this is the epiphany).
Just drive, it doesn’t matter when I should get there. I’ll get there when I get there. Tampa will be there at the end of the trip no matter what, it isn’t going anywhere. Time didn’t matter. I took my watch off and stashed it so I couldn’t habitually refer to it or robotically check it. Time didn’t matter.
I relaxed. I relaxed because time didn’t matter.
And I drove down the Sequatchie Valley. The road is a lazy left-right left-right, little up, little down though overall it was downhill for 100 miles so the drive was easy. And the valley was beautiful, trees were in color, some bright orange. I got in behind a Jaguar doing 85 and cruised down the road. I was at peace with the world.