Today I had to renew my trip permit while waiting for my Oregon plate and tags to arrive at the local DMV office, which is further away from work than I remembered. What was ironic about this was that I anticipated a wait at the DMV, and found that matters went very quickly and easily, and that it took me much longer to get home on the road (thanks to a horrible accident between the beginning and first exit off of I-205) than it had to wait at the DMV after work. Such an occurrence is entirely beyond one’s reasonable expectations.
However, over the course of the last few days, I have found a rather paradoxical outcome of better weather in Oregon. As there has been a bit more warmth and sunshine, traffic in the afternoons (and safety) has gotten much worse as a result of accidents. Perhaps Oregonians are often too distracted by the rarity of sunshine and the absence of clouds and rains that they are led to drive more and drive worse than they do in the light rains and cloudiness that are more common. I find it rather irritating that in my lengthy commute that almost every day I find slowdowns due to accidents in precisely the weather where one would expect the smoothest sailing.
In my efforts to avoid too much frustration from being stuck in a parking lot, since normally heavy traffic is something that bothers me a lot, I tried to reflect on the reasons for the traffic. In trying to recognize patterns, I saw that a lot of accidents appeared to happen in the same few places, for reasons that I do not yet understand. For example, most of the accidents have started in the same short stretch of space between the I-5 and Stafford Road on I-205. This is an area where drivers typically start out quickly, and then have to slow down as traffic approaches West Linn and as the number of lanes shrinks from three to two (which is a major cause of the slowdown). It would appear that right now there are some serious problems with people navigating these issues successfully, given the frequent accidents at that specific location.
Naturally, of course, given the amount of time that traffic was closed, my thoughts turned to deeper symbolic meanings of this problem. Some people are so used to the rain and cloudiness that they never learn how to deal with the conditions of sunlight. Each sort of phase of life has its own challenges and opportunities. Sometimes we can be blind to the difficulties that result from moving from one environment to another, not aware of the challenges that will be facing us that we may not be prepared for or aware of. This can be true both in driving as well as in the more symbolic way in which we often unsuccessfully steer our lives and seek to avoid problems and accidents in the course of our conversation and conduct. How to retain enjoyment at sunshine along with an awareness of the fact that we still have to be careful of our conditions. Like many aspects of life, it is a tricky balance to maintain.