Tuesday, August 17, 2010

objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

when i was 16, my dad bought me the most wonderful friend of a car in the world. she is a white toyota avalon and her name is lola. lola and i have spent the past 5 years as the best of friends, and when we celebrate our 6th anniversary in November, we will also celebrate our birthdays: my 22nd, lola's 14th.

in light of the dawning of lola's golden years, a family decision was made to find a new source for my transport to Samford, allowing lola to gracefully retire in our driveway.

although its taken a week or two for me to warm up to my new (new to me, but not the world- she's a 2007) volvo s40, romelia, i've officially made room in my heart for both beauties. in fact, romelia and i have done a bit of bonding on the highway. she burns the road beautifully. it makes me smile while i drive.

lola understands, i think. especially because i still take her out for spins to home depot and thrift stores.

anyhow, the other day as romelia and i burned an hour or so of road between here and my grandmother's house, i began to notice all kinds of different things about her- the kinds of things you only notice for a little while- until you get used to them.

i realize that every side mirror of every car is inscripted with the words, "objects in mirror are closer than they appear," but i suppose i re-noticed it because it was part of the new mirror in my new car in which everything is new and noticeable.

i looked at cars behind me in the side mirrors and compared they way they looked in the side mirrors to the way they looked in the rear-view mirror. the saying was true- the cars looked much farther away from side.

if the way the driver sees things in the side mirrors is inaccurate, then basing one's driving decisions off of the side-mirror images as if they are exactly as they appear could be potentially fatal. so the words, "objects in mirror are closer than they appear," are there to protect drivers from assuming that what they see is true.

as my thoughts gathered, i realized that the same is true for all mirrors- that acting upon mere reflections as absolute truth could result in a life-altering/ending collision- i realized that it already has.

i realized that the time i looked in the mirror and decided that i should bring a plastic bag of lettuce on a high school road trip i killed a memory-

and the time i spent the better part of a december day looking my self up and down in my dorm room and managed to hide an entire meal under the table at chili's before a Christmas party my freshman year at Samford-i killed any energy i could've had to have fun-

and the night during finals last year when i didn't think i looked sick enough to need treatment and starved myself through finals week- i nearly killed my gpa-

the above mentioned times and countless others could have gone differently if i'd have looked in the mirror, understood what i saw to be partial truth, and acted accordingly. although the sharp sting of regret threatens me daily, i'm thankful i killed only time and memories and some potential for accomplishment but not myself.

i know it's near impossible to ignore what we see- at least for me it is. but that's why those words are written on the car's side mirrors- to remind us to consider what we know and not just what we see.

it might require a little guesswork, a little waiting, a little faith, but decisions that are based off of lies amount to nothing, and nothingness isn't my life anymore.

so i'm going to guess and i'm going to wait for cars to pass before i change lanes- because i've got no way of knowing where they really and truly are.

and when i look in the mirror i'll acknowledge what i see, but i'm going to make decisions outside the image in front of me. if i see something i hate- something so detestable it's mood-altering- day-altering even- i might change my outfit or fix my hair, but the image before me will not change the way i act in relation to the things i know to be true.

small things done according to the mirror grow into days done according to the mirror and days done according to the mirror grow into a life done according to the mirror and a life done according to the mirror is a life lived on partial truth.

i want more than that.




  1. Great, thoughtful post. I like how it begins with your much loved car and ends with an even deeper notion of looking in a mirror and seeing life as a partial truth.