Straight Turn from the Center Lane

This may be surprising to very few. I have friends on social media who complain. Politics, relationships, food, religion, … any and all subjects are spouted about sporadically – as the mood strikes – by ordinarily calm, peaceful folks in my life. My cell dings not-so-happy notices from the fingers of these upset pals and palettes who paint pictures of woe upon my wonderful wall. I don’t worry for, and about, them – knowing they’ll be ok, of course. Venting is healthy. So is chocolate, but that’s for another time.

Steve is my friend. I’ve known him for quite some time, however, not as long as some life-long friends. He’s more in the category of a customer/friend. One of those guys I see more often at my business than in other situational, about town run-ins or home visit type of things. He’s a lefty bowler – as am I – and, by my own admission, isn’t as accomplished at the finer art of that ten-pin, sixty feet skill. On the other hand, with no pun intended because both of us wouldn’t be right-handed, he’d be incredibly more accurate to point out his significantly higher skill level throwing darts. We are co-equals in life. Both rather sarcastic to/with one another. Respectful.

Why Steve? You’ll probably never meet this semi-balding, 5’10” guy who sports a sort-of beard most times and shuffles his approximate 180 pounds frame on two legs exhausted from a hard days work. Well, he threw up a complaint on my FB wonderwall yesterday.

The weather was humid. I was hot. Customers were, as always, very kind and plentiful … but after so many, they get to be too many. Not too many in numbers, just too many to wait on without a bit of a break. It’s my age, perhaps … or the virus, masking, grease all over my glasses, alignment of Venus, rattling of trucks idling nearby with three-thousand exhaust pipes popping out their roofs, or jerky little pom-pom cars with music so loud the windows rattled louder than a herd of rabid steer rambling over a field of broken dreams. Oh, and I was stinkin’ hot – in case I didn’t say that already – when I finally did get a moment to sit.

Diet Pepsi in hand, phone in the other, I opened the Facebook app … and there it was: Someone, sitting in the lane to his left, made a right turn from the left lane in front of Steve. Fortunately, there was no physical contact, meaning, no accident. He was, apparently, at a stop light and witnessed this violation. Illegal? Yes. I’ll advised? Absolutely! Complain-able? For sure!!

I give Steve full and complete permission to post-up words of frustration concerning this act of drivery-dissatisfaction. Complain he must! For to not do so does emotional harm only unto himself. Let it out, my man …. let it go!! We’re here for you.

This is social media this year – a vent stack for all that burns in the furnace of dissatisfaction.

Every Steve and Stephanie with a Covid complaint, especially, has this wonderful outlet to express his or her opinion on all virus related issues. Pick one among hundreds and go for it …

Educational articles have been tagged, shared, and discussed. Private and public groups are forming around specific interests. Humorous, viral-related memes are lightening the mood for some, and mask-making ideas glitter the sewing circles among seamstresses.

Life is about positive things in general. It’s never just about social media in the midst of a pandemic. We can take food to a neighbor, donate our time to a cause we believe in, simply be nice to someone who may be difficult to like …. all wonderful things.

For now, though, this virus is the lane we’re in … turning straight from the center lane is how we move forward. Any other option gets us off the road to recovery.

These are all what I call “turning straight from the center lane” things we can do:

-Don’t judge anyone. They are who they are because you are who you are.

-Try to understand. Be open to other possibilities. I’ve learned more about myself by understanding why other people believe what they do. Ask them – don’t assume anything.

-Work hard at your “now”. This pandemic requires us to be vigilant at all times. Believe, or not. Your choice, of course. Be mindful and work hard at staying true to you while respecting others.

-Listen to both sides of a broken record. An argument has two sides. Any cable news network has an equal and opposite network. Be balanced and fair to yourself when receiving news.

-Finally, please laugh… a lot!! I do – at myself constantly. I also yell, scream, bedangle, amazzel, frizzle, yellop, bloppel, and rackelpop myself twice a day as well.

All of these keep me centered as best I can be. The road forward is harder than the covid-concrete upon which we find ourselves these days, right? We’ve all kind o’ crazy drivers out there making illegal swings in front of us at every turn, so complain we must …

Steve had it right. No, wait, the other driver turned right. Whatever the case, he Facebook-filed a fabulously friendly complaint on my wall and I’m glad he did. It reinforced the “when properly used” puff-stack power of social media.

Y’all can blow off some steam once in a while. I’m at “Doug Rhodes Piano” on Facebook. Make sure to send your complaint at the height of a lunch rush, during a 95-degree plus, high humidity day. I’ll be sure to get right back with an appropriate reply. Don’t worry. Just remember, venting is healthy for me as well.

Now, go find some sweets. I hear dark chocolate is delicious when it’s melted.

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