One Way

Which way are you going?

My hometown, like yours perhaps, has many one way streets, at least in the downtown center. While not a Ph.D. in transportation engineering (as my niece is) even I know that one-ways can help relieve urban congestion and keep things moving nicely.

As long as everyone moves in the right direction.

For years I had an office at 100 Congress – what we call the pyramid building – looking down on Cesar Chavez and Town Lake (I don't give a damn who calls it that other name). And approximately once a week or so someone, usually a startled tourist, would speed headlong down Cesar Chavez.

The wrong way.

For while today the street is two-ways for many years this scenic route along the lake headed only east; if you were going west, you were going wrong.

One ways are ubiquitous in my town, even streets to the west, odd to the east and even longtime residents can get distracted and in trouble. I still remember the last time I ever rode anywhere with my ex over a decade ago and, as she was no doubt pre-occupied with my charm (or simply annoyed at my very presence), she managed to turn the wrong way on 5th St and yell 'You see what happens when I'm with you!'

She was not happy.

But you know, one ways don't have to be fatal much less bad. Troublesome yes. Yet the truth is every time you go down a one way in the wrong direction you have only one viable option: turn around.

Sometimes life choices like career and friends and partner are like that too: a seemingly wide-open avenue turns quickly into an onslaught of headlights. Unnerving at the least and potentially harmful at worst.

So turn around.

Gracefully, abruptly, smoothly or with screeching tires, turn around. Stop doing damage. Go another way.

Reminds me of the first rule of holes: when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

We make wrong turns in life for all sorts of reasons benign and befit. And we can curse our passengers (à la my ex), bitch at the moon or engage in non-stop negative self-talk. Or we can apply the brakes, evenly and smoothly and calmly turn around.

The thing is most oncoming drivers will simply flick their lights or tap their horns (unless you're in a city like Manilla or NYC where cans cannot go unless the horn is continually engaged) to let you know you're headed for trouble and then they will wait for you to course correct.

There are lots of flicking headlamps we come across in living. Pay attention to them. Think about your direction. And when you find yourself heading the wrong way don't worry about style points as you turn around, just do it. While momentarily embarrassing heading the wrong way need not be life-threatening unless you insist on continuing.

So pay attention and, when need be, turn around.

And in the meanwhile, please give me the keys.



6 thoughts on “One Way

    • Aw, thank you for writing Jeanna! Few things really hurt us in the long run – save our insistence to continue going the wrong wat

    • Thank you Teagan! I appreciate that! I’m so glad you found some value in my writing today – and so very glad you took the time to comment!

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