So there I was, on my way to lunch along L Street yesterday, when I notice the police cars closing off the intersection and the cops motioning for people to stay on the sidewalk. Great. Motorcade. Looks like I’m stranded for a few minutes. And I’m hungry.
But then I marveled at the people- both in cars and pedestrians, who tried to sneak across the street. Like that Escalade was really going to evade the cop’s notice, dude. The trickle of impatient Washingtonians didn’t abate until the uniformed Secret Service officers on motorcycles showed up.
One of the officers pulled up next to the people on my corner and grinned. “Hope we’re not holding you up too much.” The response from one of my fellow pedestrians: “I’m just missing a meeting!”
I smiled. Is it really SO important that I get back to work five minutes faster? Leaving aside the question of whether it’s really so important that the Emir of Kuwait get to his speaking engagement at the Military Officers’ Association (that’s what the motorcade was for) for the moment… what I do isn’t brain surgery. No one is going to die if I spend a couple of extra minutes on the sidewalk. Sure, I’m hungry and that makes me cranky, but it’s not like I’m wasting away…
What I do get is a couple of minutes to be alone with my own, non-work thoughts. A mental coffeebreak, if you will. I’m one of the most irrationally impatient people I know, and it occurs to me that quietly seething every time a touron stands to the left on a Metro escalator or someone takes too long at the self-checkout at the grocery store is not the most healthy way to live.
I suspect that Downtown DC is full of people like me on a weekday afternoon. I invite you all to join me in trying to view motorcades and Metro delays as opportunities for mental rest, not personal affronts to your productivity. Perhaps we can collectively reduce this town’s blood pressure, no?
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs