Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shaken, Not Steered?

I’ve owned my car since 2004 and never realized it has an adjustable steering wheel – yes, that’s how car-oblivious I am – until I started driving to work yesterday and realized the steering column was wobbly. It took several miles before I had a long enough red light to find the page in my owner’s manual (those are not the easiest texts to navigate, even sitting still) that told me where the lever was. Whew, easily fixed. It must have been altered ("altered" - good word that takes the blame off me) when Firestone inspected my car on Saturday.

I was on a completely straight stretch of my commute on a road with a 40 mph speed limit so the car wasn’t hard to navigate, but it’s impossible not to feel uneasy when a steering wheel is wobbling in your hands. It’s also impossible to avoid the metaphor…barely in control while moving forward. I’ve been told that in a car dream, usually the car is you (the dreamer) – thus I’m piloting myself through…something.

To somewhere. (Should I be all dramatic here – use italics, put a question mark after somewhere, etc.?)

Uneasy times at my company, frustrations in my job…evolving roles within my family and my marriage. Nothing bad, just sometimes…uneasy. Not completely in control under my hands.

And/or I focus so much on what’s under my hands that I’m not properly looking ahead. (See what I mean? So metaphor rich I feel uncomfortable typing it – sounds corny.)

(As corny as this Fotosearch photo...)

I hate the car dreams where I’m forced to drive up an extremely steep road or down one, with terror that my car will slide, fall… Those dreams are rarely about the actual drive, more about contemplating the steep stretch ahead. Even in the dream I have a dim idea that physics of car weight could keep that from happening but I’m convinced of disaster anyway.

There’s another horrible one where I have gone on a hometown visit and can’t get back to Dallas without merging onto two highways that terrify me. I try to remember the back way that takes calmer roads, but I never manage that and instead end up doing death-defying traffic merges (almost a close-my-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best) or missing my exit and carried in the wrong direction, with traffic I can’t keep up with.

Just writing about those last dreams is giving me tendrils of night terror.

The wobbly wheel thing is so small in comparison.

Maybe that’s good perspective for today, as I head in to work. Maintain an appropriate speed and move forward. My wobbliness to date has not taken me off course.