I wasn’t even doing anything wrong when it happened. But my heart started beating faster, immediately. My eyes went from looking out the windshield to the rearview and back to the windshield, like 100 times in a row.
Just the presence of a cop car behind me got me all flustered. Like, nervous. For no reason. I was younger then, but still. It was the middle of the day, in my own neighborhood, on a road I drive all the time. And guess what? He pulled me over.
So my anxiety was warranted? No. It wasn’t. I was just driving through a self-fulfilling prophecy, simply because I let worry take over.
At that red light, one where cars aren’t allowed to turn right until it’s green, I followed the rule and waited. And when it turned green, I turned right…before a pedestrian who was trying to cross could get in front of my car. But, not before that same pedestrian threw his arms up and wondered…
What the hell, lady?
Eyes dart to the rearview and instantly see red and blue dancing lights.
In the hundreds of times I’ve been at that off-ramp, I’ve NEVER seen a pedestrian. Ever. Not once. Wait, I’ve seen someone there before, but they weren’t moving. They were holding a cardboard sign, standing or sitting, but they were never walking across the crosswalk.
It was my lucky day, I guess. The day I was worried about making a mistake before I had a chance to make one.
The officer was super nice and talked it out with me – “I was so nervous that you were behind me!” he heard me tell him. And, he didn’t give me a ticket. I didn’t break any rules, technically. I wasn’t speeding, or being reckless or driving the wrong way.
I just almost hit someone.
There are other little rules, though, that I do break if I think about it.
The one that says you’re supposed to pull into the first available lane? I totally break that one all the time. I try to take the first lane as often as possible, but construction and traffic sometimes make it hard.
The “don’t wash your hair every day” thing. I do that. I can’t not. It’s for everyone’s benefit. The “eating carbs” rule – yeah, I don’t recognize that one. I chow on those babies. I also sleep in when I can – even though the whole rule says you should just get the same sleep every night.
Come on. Some nights need to continue past your bedtime, and some mornings need to start after your alarm clock. I’ll break that rule until I die.
I don’t wash my face before I go to sleep, because I’m too tired to deal, and I don’t wear fancy shoes when I’m supposed to (most times).
I’m not sure if all those choices qualify as rule breaking. Maybe they’re just rule making?
I’ve come a long way from letting my anxiety run the show. So maybe this whole rule making thing is working for me. And isn’t there some rule about not fixing things that aren’t broke?