Day 170: The Railroad Crossing

Another interview today.

I woke up feeling pretty optimistic. Just a week ago, I’d had job interview that was a semi-disaster which turned out to be an incredible spiritual experience for me. So, today, it was difficult to go into the day’s plans being nervous or scared. Last week I was granted permission by my higher power to be OK with whatever comes my way. That permission is such a relief.

So, I put on my power interview outfit. Black pants, black and purple tunic, and a classic, black cardigan. Slipped into my sparkly gold flats, and hopped into the car with all the confidence in the world. I’d given myself ample time to get across town. Portland is pretty small, so, allowing forty five minutes to get anywhere within the city limits is pretty generous. There were three routes that would have taken me to the office in pretty much the same amount of time. Why I chose the middle route, I still don’t know. But, as I crossed Powell on Milwaukee, headed North, the bells rang out and the red lights flashed. And, down came the railroad gates.

I was the first car at the gates. And, as I tried to think fast, I immediately thought to back out and turn down the street just behind me. But, when I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see that cars had already begun to fill in behind me as far as my eye could see. I was stuck.

I tried no to panic. I looked at the clock. I had about thirty five minutes to get to the interview and still get there a few minutes early. So, I put the car in PARK,  I pulled out my pack of cigarettes and commenced to chain smoking. The train was long, and moved like molasses. After I’d been sitting about ten minutes, the train came to a complete standstill. It was just sitting there. The minutes on the clock, ticking by. I sucked down two more cigarettes. My generous allotment of time was beginning to dwindle.

First, I cursed my choice of routes. Why, why, had I chosen the route with the railroad crossing? Why, even when I had thirty five minutes to spare, was this train stopped, seemingly indefinitely in front of me? As all these questions ran through my mind, it occurred to me, it didn’t matter. The why and how of it all was inconsequential. I was there. I was stuck there. And, it might mean that I’d have to call and let my interviewer know that I would have to reschedule. It might mean, that I wasn’t supposed to go to that interview at all. But, whatever it’s meaning, I had to sit in acceptance. Acceptance or the alternative: useless anxiety and anger.

As I calmly lit, yet another, cigarette, sitting in the moment. I saw the last car of the train pass by me on the track. The bells sounded and the gates lifted. As if God was satisfied that I’d learned my lesson, he let me carry on. I put the car in drive and drove to my interview.

I arrived with five minutes to spare. I sat in the waiting room, taking deep breaths, readying myself for whatever was destined to come my way.

And, what came my way, was a pretty rad interview. Right on time. Not a minute too soon.


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