The Art of Gratefulness – Day 12

Today was one of those days that make it hard to write about being grateful.   Let’s start with what I woke up to this morning.

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Yes, I know, very pretty – first snow of the year. All I see is delays; on the road and on the trains.

Sure enough, I head out on my daily commute and when I get to the highway, traffic is crawling.  It’s like everyone is thinking “Oh my God!  What is this stuff?  I’ve lived my whole life in the Sahara and I’ve never seen this before.  I’d better drive rrreeaallyy slow.”  It’s snow, people.  This is New England.  It snows here.  Keep in mind that these are the same people who, in very short time, will be driving through blizzards like Mario Andretti at the Indy 500.  But right now, they are stunned stupid by these little, fluffy flakes that melt before they even hit the road.

So a trip that should only take 45 minutes takes an hour and 15 minutes.  I miss my train. That’s OK.  At this hour the trains run every 15 to 20 minutes.  Then they announce that “because of slippery rails, trains are running  15 to 20 minutes late.”   Thanks again snow.  OK, so I have to wait a little longer.  I’m already at the far end of the platform and I don’t feel  like walking all the way back to the covered  crossover to keep warm.  Besides, it’s not so bad  out.   I forget about wind chill.   By the time the whatever:15  to Grand Central  arrives, I’m a commuter flavored Popsicle.

I have no  idea which train it is but it’s headed in the right direction and it’s warm inside.  The conductor announces that it is the local. Great.  That means we make all stops between here and White Plains.  Well, I’m already close to an hour late, what’s another 20 minutes.  So I settle in and open my IPad.  We move along at a pretty good pace until we hit Pleasantville.  I’m absorbed in my reading, so it’s a few minutes before I realize we’ve been in the station for quite some time.  I’ve got my earbuds in, so I pull one out in case there are any announcements and I hear the dreaded “we are being held in the station”.  Shit, now what.  So I wait.   And I wait.   Finally, another announcement. “There is police activity up ahead.  We are being held here indefinitely folks”,  followed by a collective groan from my fellow prisoners.    A moment later, a train slowly pulls in on the opposite track.  “That train is headed back north, folks.  We will open the doors and anyone who wants to head back home can  get on it.”  For a brief moment, I consider the possibility but I have deadlines to meet and that annoying responsibility thing kicks in.  The doors open and a stampede of people head for the homeward bound express..  I look around.  Only a few determined souls stick it out with  me.

The minutes tick by and I’m beginning to think I’ve made a horrible mistake.  My IPad has died and I have no charger with me.  I used my smart phone to text my office about my predicament so I turn it off because I don’t want to run that down too.  In case I have to call for help.  I’m just starting to contemplate making a run for it if they open the doors again, when the train jolts to a start.  I think a silent “Yeah!!” and congratulate myself for sticking it out.

We inch toward Manhattan.  I have no IPad, No smart phone.  I have read everything I have with me.  I have made notes and jotted down ideas.  There is nothing left to do, nothing to keep me occupied.  With each, slow, painful mile, I am getting more and more stressed.  I will be lucky if I get to the office by noon.  That means that I will have been on the road for five hours.  I have so much to do when I get there.  I’ll never get it all done on time.  Damn Metro North.  Damn the snow.  Damn police activity.

I am so annoyed and upset that I don’t notice at first that we are approaching the City.  And then suddenly, we are on the bridge, crossing the Harlem River.  I look out the window and my jaw drops.  There, on top of a building is a huge sign.  It has to be 50 feet wide. And in giant block letters it reads GRATITUDE.  I pass this way twice a day, five times a week, and I have never seen this sign before.

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The sign is on top of the white building.

Immediate attitude adjustment.

I got to work late, but I got there safe, so for that, I’m grateful.

I finished everything I needed to meet my deadline and didn’t have to stay late, so for that, I’m grateful.

And the Universe found a way to slap me in the face and say “Snap out of it”, so for that, I’m grateful.

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