Big Conflicted Life


My big conflicted life goes on again today. Just like every morning I’m up and yoga’ed, showered, granolaed, coffeeed, and here I am at work.

On the drive I wanted to find out how my sister is doing. She needs attention every day now because she’s sick and she has little kids and I wish I could just sit by her or show up at her house to help. So I dial her up on my cell phone. And we have a sweet, short conversation. I remember something I need to tell my mom so I call her too, leaving a message. I’m just about to dial up my friend Kris when I realize that I have once again scooted past my own personal boundaries and I am one of those women you see on the freeway, zooming from lane to lane, slowing irritably to punch numbers into a cell phone and then careening around in a half trance, talking on the phone.

THIS IS NOT GOOD. I’ve written long epistles about how people shouldn’t drive and use their cell phone. My co-worker says that I am now on that slippery slope because I’ve started to realize that car time can actually double as office time or social time or call return time. I did not mean to do this. I did not WANT to do this. I turn my attention back to the drive.

The grass is turning green along the freeway and the Morning Show guys are playing Les Yeux Noires, a French Klezmer band. I can pick out the word “souvenir.” Ah, remember.

Remember when I didn’t have a cell phone? Remember when I concentrated on the road, and thought through the day ahead in a peaceful manner, even mused about some of the writing I would do?

Remember when I would sit, on a little stool by our phone in the kitchen and consciously return calls, holding the receiver in my hand, not trying to “do” anything else?

Remember when I used to listen to a whole Chopin Nocturne on my way to work and let it work its magic on me?

Remember when I saw my friends using their phones in the car and warned them, as politely as I could, that driving and talking on your phone is the equivalent of driving drunk?

Remember when I was clipping articles about how bad cell phones are for our heads and bodies, because of the possibility of radiation orbiting around us so closely?

The song ended and I pulled into my parking ramp.

I think I’m going to declare ONCE AGAIN that I won’t use my cell phone when I drive.

I think I just have to keep working on my time management. I can’t be all about peacefulness and mindfulness and concentration in my writing themes and then careen down the road on the phone.

I just can’t.

I’ll try to hang up and drive.

–Nanci Olesen is the host of a pilot program on Minnesota Public Radio called “How’s the Family?” Two programs air on KNOW (91.1 fm) in Minnesota on Friday May 18 at 2 p.m. and on Friday May 25 at 2 p.m.

Nanci also welcomes people to the Lake Harriet Bandshell for “A MOMbo Mother’s Day” on Sunday, May 13, at 2 p.m. for a free one hour “variety show” featuring the reading of “The Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace.” Read more at Pass it on.