I was up early this morning, & out in the 5 o’clock hour. Not just for fun, but so that I could get to the hospital to wait with a friend for her husband to get out of surgery. It’s normally a 15 minute drive, so I gave myself 30 minutes for travel, parking, & navigation of the maze that the hospital has become due to New Construction. Plenty of time.
Hadn’t planned for “The Freezing Fog,” which is what the guy on the radio said that Reno was experiencing. Visibility wasn’t bad… I drove Vista to I-80 with no trouble; however, when I tried to take the 395-S exit, & came to just about a dead stop. Baaarreeeellyyy moving. Inching along. Sigh.
Changed the radio station, & the Voice said that travelers should try to avoid 395-S & the Mill Street exit. Which is where I was headed. Too late. Bummer.
The unforeseen ‘down-time’ in the car left ample time for thinking – it was way too early to have the radio on… I think its because loud noises in the morning push my buttons & grate on me. So instead, I thought…
What came to mind was a series of interactions that I’d had over the last week; blunted ‘discussions’ really, marked with misunderstandings. Assumptions. Over-reactions. Defensiveness. Low-blood-sugar responses.
In the quiet of the car, & the stillness (my car included,) things I’d said & done bounced around my mind. It struck me that I had spent a lot of time trying to BE understood, & to MAKE myself understood, instead of trying to understand…. Funny how I hadn’t seen or even considered that due to a myopic self-focus that had majored on thinking of me & my needs, instead of considering those of others…
The cars were still just barely inching along. Making negligible progress.
What to do, what to do? Communication is more than just talking increasingly slower & louder until the other person
gives in understands. I think I know what might help. Listening intently (as opposed to formulating responses to partially heard expressions. You don’t do that too, do you?) Asking clarifying, not condescending, questions. Listening some more. Talking.
Came across the reason for the traffic jam: an 8-car pileup @ just past the Glendale exit, caused by the culprit, “The Freezing Fog.” Off to the right of the accident, I saw a guy with a camera-phone that had climbed up the overpass, to film the crash. KOLO TV… Good news is no news.
And then, the traffic cleared. To the hospital.
I want to listen better. More fully. Be fully present in the conversation, & not merely be crafting rebuttal’s & counter-arguments. Starting now.