Sometimes the right thing hurts

I took a little road trip today to beautiful Piqua, OH for a customer visit. Hit the road earlier than usual, but the sun was still plenty high already, high enough to have morning traffic constipated with a sun delay. Surprisingly, that didn’t bother me at all. The day was made for driving somewhere, anywhere, nowhere. It was warm but not hot, perfect for rolling down the windows or breaking open the convertible if you’re lucky enough to have one.

I’m not, but we’ll let that go for now.

For the first time in 20 years of driving places, I intentionally didn’t push the speedometer past the limit. I’ve apparently reached the age when you recognize the rarity of a fine, fleeting late spring morning and take the time to appreciate it. Still, my trip was only 90 minutes each way, so it’s not like I was wasting a full day or anything. For each hour and half, though, it was me, my thoughts, the wind blowing through the car, and a beautiful crystal blue sky.

I finished at the customer around noon and started the return trip to the office. The Reds had a day game, so at 12:30, Marty was on the radio to keep me company.

Nothing’s completely perfect, of course. As I was driving back though construction in Dayton, I did a favor for the guy in the oversized pickup beside me trying to change lanes. I slowed a bit to make room for him and his ridiculous truck, and then waved him over in front of me.

He didn’t wave back.

For the life of me I don’t think I’ll ever understand why it’s so freaking difficult to offer a simple hand gesture when someone gives you a little consideration on the roadways. I get it; his mighty truck could totally have driven over my little Honda. I’m sure that offering a wave of gratitude to my compact sedan would have been humiliating and likely would have resulted in some kind of demerit in the Big Man Driving Extra-Large Trucks to Compensate Club. Yet, if I had zipped around and cut him off, I’d have no doubt been witness to Mr. Big Truck Man’s dual bird faster than you can say “rednecks rock the racetrack regularly.”

So here’s the Puddintopia Public Service Announcement of the day: Being a courteous driver won’t kill you; be nice and give the occasional wave of gratitude.

Remember, knowing is half the battle.

Anyway, as I got closer to home – meaning the office, of course – I worked very diligently at convincing myself to speed a precious half day of vacation this afternoon. I cooked up a hundred different ways to use the time in pursuit of the Greater Good. I considered swinging by the ballpark, grabbing a bleacher seat and spending the afternoon with a few thousand Reds fans. I thought about finding a nice little cafe with outdoor seating to have a light lunch and a few gallons of iced tea or an iced espresso while working on the novel. I could’ve just sat through the afternoon and done a little people watching; I might have rounded up the kids and gone to the pool. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

In the end, I did what, deep down, I always knew I would do; I went to the office. There’s always too much to do, too little time, and those precious few vacation days are like gold.

I did the right thing today, but boy, it sure did feel wrong. At least I still have pleasant memories of a few hours well spent in the car.

Pud’n