Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Wrong Way

Coming into Sedalia, the southbound lane of Highway 65 splits, one lane toward downtown, and the other lane continues through town. I was on my way to line dancing exercise class and used the right-hand lane to go to the Celebration Center.

I was thinking about how early darkness had fallen, when the car in front of me swerved to the right. Immediately, I was gazing into the shadow of death in the form of headlights coming my way. In my thousands of trips through this area, I had never once met a car going the wrong way.

I swerved to the right, and the car passed by on the left. In my rearview mirror, I saw the car turn around and head back in the correct direction rather than continue north in the southbound lane.

There has been more than one fatal accident locally with cars going the wrong way. I know of at least two that involved elderly persons with dementia. In one case, the family knew the man shouldn’t have been driving, but taking the keys away wasn’t easy. The person with dementia may balk at relinquishing them and family may be reluctant to take away a final piece of independence.

One of the phrases Jim used when dementia interfered with his speech was, “You’re going the wrong way.” He told me that all the time, but it wasn’t because I was physically going the wrong way. He was trying to tell me something was wrong, usually because I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me.

In my opinion kindness, decency, and a positive attitude are going the wrong way. We have been bombarded with conspiracy theories, rumors, and character assassinations. I received a political advertisement in the mail that completely attacked the character of a man running for state office. The odd thing was that his opponent was not mentioned at all.

We’ve been inundated with negativity for so long, that it is having a detrimental impact on our quality of life. People are nervous, intimidated, and angry. I hate to think of the effect on long-term health, both physical and mental.

Perhaps the worst fallout from this exposure to negativity is alienation of family and friends. No one likes to be lumped into a group that has this, that, or another quality. Each of us has a different thought process and different deal breakers. Just because someone thinks differently doesn’t mean you are one hundred percent correct and they are one hundred percent wrong.

I’ve been wrong more than once. Luckily, I was wrong recently.

I sent a photo to an email address I copied from another source. An email came back. “I think you have the wrong person.”

I looked at the address and thought it was correct so I said the photo was attached taken at a recent meeting. “I don’t remember going to that meeting. When was it? My memory sometimes gets the best of me.” My heart sank. Oh, no, forgetting a meeting that occurred less than a week ago was not a good sign.

I swallowed hard and read the email to my husband. “That doesn’t make sense,” he said. “She was fine that night.” I had to agree with him. She was articulate, involved, and as spunky as ever.

As I sat there mulling over the situation, I noticed that I had left out a dot. I apologized to the person I had sent the photo to in error, and explained my mistake. I received a reply, “That ‘dot’ will get you every time!” I definitely sent it the wrong way…to the wrong person. Or was it the right person?

I have no idea who the unintended recipient was, but I appreciated his or her sense of humor. It was a lesson learned as far as I was concerned.

Maybe I’ve been looking at this entire political process the wrong way. I will admit I’ve have had a little fun when people share articles without reading them because of a misleading headline. The article may say exactly the opposite of what they presume it said, but they blow their stack over another perceived “outrage.”

Humor can ease a lot of angst. Don’t all of us need that now?  

Copyright © November 2016 by L.S. Fisher
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