Saturday, September 18, 2010

That sinking feeling

Last week I was driving through Ithaca and I have to confess that I was talking on my cell phone. As I pulled onto Estey I saw the police officer, and I saw him see me. I hung up immediately, but as I sat at the red light, I watched the patrol car make a leisurely u-turn as he pulled up behind me with his lights flashing. There were times in my life where I would have been furious about that traffic ticket, but now it has a different effect on me. First, I was really glad that I was going the speed limit and had made a full stop at the light. Second I though “I am getting this ticket because I broke the law. And it is a law because it has to do with my safety and the safety of my community.”

And why was I assiduously going the speed limit? Because last year I was pulled over for not slowing down to 30 as I passed through the town of Van Etten. But you know what? Even if I drive exactly the speed limit, stop completely at every stop sign and never talk while driving again, I will still feel that little guilty jolt in my stomach every time I see a patrol car behind me. Why? Because I know I'm not perfect, and when I see those lights in my rear view mirror, some inner part of me does a quick moral inventory. It's like my own conscience is driving that patrol car,combined with some basic distrust of authority. And when the officer walks up alongside my driver side door, I wait for the verdict. "Do you know why I stopped you?" I run through possible traffic mistakes from the last half hour, gaps in vehicle maintenance (is that tail light out again?!) political party affiliations, failings as a mom. None of us will ever be perfect, that’s just part of being human. But I sure do pull over now when the phone rings.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Star Island

This summer my son and I took advantage of a clergy scholarship to visit Star Island. We had a few very stormy days which were discouraging, but quite impressive as the winds were so strong we could barely walk upright in certain places on the island. The hotel is over 100 years old, and I think they used every waste basket to catch rain drops that leaked through the ancient roof. There was yoga every day (VERY gentle) and on the day of the worst storm the swinging doors would swing open and closed with every gust of wind, and the back row got rained on about half way through class.

The sunny days were remarkably beautiful. I even got up the courage to go "Polar Bear" with the crew that meets out at the dock at 7:00 am. I was just so happy it wasn't raining I didn't care how cold the water was (and it was COLD).