I drive about 6.4 miles to and from work every day. I have a pretty good commute. Actually I have an excellent commute. 10 to 12 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes in the afternoon/early evening. I feel lucky to have such an awesome commute.
Recently my commute has been somewhat of a let down.
As a person of somewhat stretched faith, I am always looking towards other people to be the beacon of hope, the "restored faith in humanity" type of people. Over and over again, as I look at the people on my journey home, I am not seeing the inspiration I once cherished.
I see "horn honking at slow green light responders". I see frustrated drivers, due to the condition of the pothole pocked streets, throw up their arms in despair. I witness middle fingers and silent screams from many motorists behind their windshields declaring "whatever you just did, totally made my day suck".
What I used to see, on my way home, the one thing that transformed my ride back from work, was a determined marching band student trying to perfect her abilities at swing flags/color guard for her high school marching band.
Let me go back a little. Almost everyday, on my way home from work, for the past 4 years, I would see a girl (once a freshman, then a sophomore, then a junior and, I can only guess, eventually a senior) practicing her flag techniques out in her driveway along Mearns road.
Almost everyday, on my drive home during the school year, along Mearns Road, I would see this girl practicing. I was not sure if she went to Wood or to William Tennent High School, since their colors can sometimes can be the same, but she would be practicing her flag throws, rain or shine, every day.
She was always a great sight to see after a bad day at work. Her determination and focus on her task always made me feel a little bit better about how my day went. As I waited in the somewhat stilted, stop and go traffic along Mearns Rd. I could watch this Freshman (then Sophomore, then Junior and I can only guess a Senior,) twirl her large flag into the air over and over and over again trying to catch it. Sometimes she would miss it coming back down, but most times, and even more as she got older, she would catch it with confidence and flair. I would watch her, from the stagnant traffic, hoping she would catch the falling flag every time. I always wondered if she knew she was entertaining the people in the cars along Mearns Road. I know the sight of her prevented many middle fingers flying.
I know she entertained me. She was also an inspiration to me. She never quit. She always had a smile on her face. She was doing, and it was quite evident, what she loved. Everyday I saw her I wanted to be able to do what I loved. Most days I got to do just that. Or at least I got to appreciate what I had because this high school kid showed me. She was focused and determined. You could see it in her face as she stood in her driveway along Mearns Road,
I have to think that the flag bearer has graduated high school. It has been about four years since I first noticed her. I hope she is at some college getting a degree in what she wants out of life.
My drive home has not been the same. It has been somewhat of a let down. I keep looking for the flag thrower so I can, maybe, one day, tell her how her hard work was always a pleasant sight to see on the way home from work, along Mearns Road.