Responsibility

I have no idea, I thought it was just here. It really doesn’t make any sense. We must be lost. I think we’re beyond lost. Wait, here’s a payphone. Let’s just stop the car and call him.

A song started to play on the radio in my car. I haven’t heard it for a while. It’s around 18 years old. Every time I hear it, it brings back memories. Travel memories. We were driving from Denver to Seattle in a car, which we had to deliver back to its owner. Because we were both under 25 at the time, it was too expensive to rent a car to travel around the US (mainly because of the price of the insurance), so we discovered this company, were you can drive other people’s cars from A to B for free (you pay for the petrol yourself), sometimes you even got a cash-back, when you had safely delivered the car.

Driving in Seattle to find the address were we had to deliver the car, was almost impossible. We had no GPS or mobile phone, that wanted to cooperate with the US network (this was back in 2001!). All we had was a map. We couldn’t find it, so we stopped and called the owner for some guidance. At first he was a bit annoyed, that we were late, but gave us the directions (I guess he could see, that yelling at us, would not get any of us anywhere), that made it easier for us to find his house.

As I listened to the song, I couldn’t help wandering why this story all of a sudden was popping up. What was the message? As I came around the corner, I saw a woman on a bike. She was cycling up the narrow, bending road on one of those big bikes were there’s room for your children or shopping in the front. She didn’t look like she was struggling too much, as the bike had a battery (I’m not sure if it would have been possible for her, or any one else for that matter, to cycle up that hill without the tailwind of a battery). Because there was no visibility, there was no way, I could overtake her in my car.

All I could do, was to slow down and stay behind her until we’ve reached the top of the hill, were there would be enough space and visibility for me to overtake her. As I overtook her, she turned her head and smiled at me. It was like she was apologising for holding up traffic. I smiled back, as to tell her, it was OK and not a problem. Although it seemed to just be a nice gesture from a stranger, I instantly knew, that there was more to the story.

I was tearing up. Why was I so moved by this incident? She was turning a less desirable situation in traffic to a nice gesture – a smile. She knew, she was “in the way” and yet she still had the courage to look straight at me and smile. What she was doing, was taking responsibility of the situation. Like the way we did in Seattle, struggling to find the destination. We stopped, admitted we were lost and then acted on it. Like I did for my lunch. A nice gesture to myself (in an attempt to eat more healthy – including homemade bread).

That made me think, that I need to take responsibility for my (less desired) situation. And act.

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