Impromptu works for me! I like spur of the moment opportunities. Maybe delayed gratification is over-rated. Some say delayed gratification is a sign of maturity. Who’s really to say? Maybe it is my aversion to maintaining a calendar and carefully plotting future events, but like I always say, “The only place we have is here and the only time we really have is now”. Why not make that work for you?
Yesterday afternoon, the General and I made a quick trip into Austin to visit a friend at the Heart Hospital. If you are familiar with Austin, you immediately know the concept of a quick trip is a misnomer. A quick trip doesn’t exist.
Add to the concept that Hwy 290 is closed down to one lane for a portion of the commute and that adds the need for patience to the drive. I find it frustrating that some folks will wait until the very last possible second before they move over to the left lane. Okay, so maybe it is a character flaw? As the left lane (the one open) moved at a snail’s pace yesterday, cars continued to zip past me on the right. At some point I reached the place where “enough is enough” and I silently resolved that it would be a “Cold Day in Austin” before I let another car in front of mine.
That resolve didn’t work out well. It never does. I always cater and allow the line of last minute racecar drivers on my right to make their way in front of my vehicle. It is probably a full minute our two before I allow my grip on the steering wheel to relax and give myself permission to breathe. I don’t know why that is such a big deal to me? It is always a lose/lose proposition for me. I have no real control over the thoughtlessness of the folks on my right who are equally adamant they are going to edge in front. Invariably they do.
Okay so maybe I’ve already rendered a mistaken value judgment that I didn’t have the right to make. I described them as “thoughtless”. How do I now that? How do I know that they too aren’t inching their way toward the Heart Hospital because they need medical care? Wouldn’t that get priority over visiting a patient? There are two sides to every story, but in my impatience, I generally focus only on my side.
When it comes to Austin traffic, I need to lighten up. For starters, there is more than one way into Austin. Why travel HWY 290? The back roads take longer in the long haul, but they are more picturesque and I seldom have an episode of gripping the steering wheel with all my might.
As we made our way into the outdoor parking lot at the hospital, I was confident we’d find a place to park. It didn’t look that crowded. It didn’t look that crowded because there are open spaces, but the open spaces didn’t include a place to park. I was beginning to think the same was true of the parking garage. Unlike the outdoor area that was light and bright, the parking garage is very dark. You don’t have to read the “turn the headlights on” signage as you enter to figure out you don’t have an option. We finally found a parking spot on the fourth floor. I didn’t know at the time the parking lot included three more floors? I was anxious for nothing.
The discovery that the patient we came to visit had “turned the corner” and was significantly improved from the description shared of her condition from the evening before immediately made everything right in my world. The stress associated with everything else dissipated immediately. I was so relieved.
In addition to visiting with the patient, her husband and another friend were also present. It was really nice to have an opportunity to visit with them as well. The atmosphere was one of jubilation. Everything was in rhythm so to speak and life was good.
Leaving the hospital, the General and I made our way to a restaurant for a late lunch. We initially thought we’d go to a favorite restaurant farther north, but we did the math and opted to look for “plan B”. We didn’t want stuck in rush-hour traffic.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on the edge of the Henly side of Oak Hill and headed homeward. Andrea and Kevin where coming over for grilled burgers in about three hours. The General was also planning to fry squash. Andrea calls it a family tradition, but fried squash is a delicacy at our house. We all intuitively stand around the stove and munch on the freshly friend squash as though it was an appetizer as soon as it comes out of the skillet.
The first time Kevin was aware of the tradition, Andrea invited him to come get squash. He responded: “No thanks, I’ll just wait for the meal”. She replied: “You don’t understand. If you don’t eat it as it comes out of the skillet, you don’t eat it. It won’t still be available at the meal.”
Having time on our side, the General and I stopped by a memory care unit on our way back to Dripping Springs to visit another friend. As we were going in, the two friends we visited with at the Heart Hospital were coming out. They, too, had the same idea. We exchanged greeting again. They went their way and we went inside.
Our visit with our friend was probably only ten minutes or so. He seemed delighted to see us. He even introduced me to a couple of people as his pastor. However, in short order he apologized and said: “I really need to get back to work. The lady I work for won’t let us leave until we get everything done.” He also added: “I like working here.” That tugged at my heartstrings, but his affirmation that he liked working there made it all seem okay.
As we traveled homeward, I asked the General if she thought we should invite the two people we’d met as we were going in for burgers. She said, “I was having the same thought.” It turned out to be a delightfully relaxed and enjoyable evening. The two guests seemed to think our milling around the stove to enjoy and appetizer of fried squash wasn’t even strange. Okay, so it was strange, but it was enjoyable.
Impromptu works for me. It is never a disappointment and one doesn’t have to wait. The only place we have is here and the only time we have is now.
All My Best!