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*If I were a car…

…I would be a Jeep.

(An analogy.  Scroll down for more).

I have an amazing talent for doing everything in the longest, most difficult, and most complicated way possible.  Sometimes it’s intentional.  In college, I often turned the 4.5-hour drive home into a 7-hour trek, taking back country roads the entire way, enjoying the beauty of the “scenic route.”  (I thank my dad for that one).  Just today I realized that I could drive to my student’s house in 20 minutes.  Instead, though, I took the bus, (three buses, really), making this an hour and 20 minute trip instead.  For me, riding the bus is more enjoyable, interesting, and relaxing.  Plus, I had extra time.

Sometimes though, it can be frustrating, both for me and others.  I have a vivid memory from elementary school; I must have been only five or six.  I was wearing a blue and white striped dress that had small white buttons down the center on the front, all the way from the top to the bottom.  There must have been at least 20 buttons.  After lunch, my teacher took the girls to the bathroom.  I unbuttoned the dress, did what I was there to do, and then tried to re-button the dress.  At that age, those buttons were more than my fingers could handle.  I remember getting frustrated and starting to cry, and then finally asking my teacher for help.  She took one look at me and immediately exclaimed, “Melanie!  Why did you unbutton the dress in the first place??”  The fact that it was unnecessary to unbutton even one of the buttons had never even crossed my mind!  Instead, as always, I made a simple task into something difficult and time-consuming.

In college, printing out design projects never failed to be a disaster.  By the end of the viscom program, I made a point to finish all design projects at least six hours before they were due, to ensure I’d have plenty of time to go through the hassle of getting them effectively printed and matted.  No one else in the class ever seemed to have this problem!  They finished the project, printed, and pasted.  Easier done than said.

So, what’s the point?

This afternoon as I rode through downtown Seattle on my way from a coffeehouse to my student’s house, I thought about how much quicker and easier it would have been to drive from door to door.  I could have walked from my front door to the car door, parked a few feet from my destination, avoiding the bitter cold and the hassle of chasing down the bus.  (I took a total of 7 buses today; I raced at least two of them, trying to take a short cut to get to the nearest bus stop before they did)! I thought how this stubborn commitment to bus when possible was just one of the many ways I made life more complicated than it need be.

However, I also thought about how, by taking the bus, it was simple to spend some time downtown before tutoring.  I didn’t have to look for parking, and I didn’t have to pay to park.  Instead, I could spend some time reading and day dreaming in one of my favorite coffeehouses.  Also, it was really easy to go from the coffeehouse to a bookstore downtown.  And from the bookstore, it was only one bus to tutor.  The bus rides were enjoyable; I chatted with the bus drivers and enjoyed listening to music while looking at all the Christmas decorations downtown, without having to worry about crashing my car or hitting a pedestrian.

Yes, the long scenic route can be frustrating at times.  Often, I think I’d prefer to take the short, simple, direct way to get from place to place.  However, I guess that’s just not how I was made.  While I may not always (okay, rarely) do things in the simplest way or take the most direct route from point A to point B, I suppose I might as well learn how to enjoy the ride and see what there is to see on the way.  And although the road may seem long, messy, and complicated at times, I’ll just have to be confident that eventually I’ll get where I’m supposed to be going, and there will always be a lot to learn on the way.

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