Morning peak hour, vehicles are bumper to bumper crawling along at a snail’s pace.
In the midst of traffic, a lone figure sits upright in the driver’s seat of his car.
Beside him, a truck honks in frustration at the slowing traffic, cutting off a merging SUV in the process.
The truck driver sighs to himself.
He slowly rolls down the window to flick his cigarette and glances upon the lone figure in the car.
The car windows are up but the car driver’s mouth is visibly moving.
His facial features appear locked in pain…
Meanwhile inside the car.
Music is playing on the car speakers.
A sound, likened to the famed mating call of the female Hyena, resonates from the chords of the single occupant:
“Country roadddds, take me hoooome,
To the plaaaaace, I beloooong…”
The driver is too engrossed in the music from the legendary John Denver, too caught up in the lyrics of this classical tune, too swept up in the memories of his youth, that by the time he notices it. It is too late.
The disapproving and judgmental look from the truck driver.
The truck driver looks at him.
He looks back.
And without missing a beat, flashes the truck driver a grin and a thumbs-up – and slowly drives away in the morning traffic.
Inside the truck.
The truck driver gradually recovers from his shock, chuckles to himself and for a brief moment forgets he is late to his second job of the day.
Suddenly, a car swerves dangerously in front of him, he roars in anger and a stream of expletives pours forth inside the cabin.
It is only 8:10am.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a brief encounter yours truly experienced this morning.
Unfortunately I can’t drive a truck to
save a buck , to get some luck, to marry Uncle Huck, oh fuck a duck, I suck at rhyming truck.
Anyway, as I can’t drive a truck, the occupant in the car was therefore your favourite finance blogger who also cranked out the tunes on the motorway.
I hope Mr Truck Driver sir, that for the briefest of moments when our eyes connected, I brought some joy to your life – it certainly looked like you needed it more than I this morning.
Why were you so chirpy The Frugal Samurai? Pray tell, what good fortune befell upon you sir?
Why… why are you talking like that…
No particular reason, I just chose to be grateful for all which I have in my life.
You see, most mornings and evenings – when peak hour is at it’s worst, I used to be the worst commuter.
The one seething and swearing and generally fed up with life between the hours of 7-9am and 5-7pm.
Why is this bus so late???
Why is this train so crowded???
Why is this road so slow???
Then one morning, I had an epiphany. An EPIPHANY I tells you.
You see, I’d just finished watching “Enemy at the Gates” for the umpteenth time – a 2001 war film starring Jude Law about a young Russian sniper in the chaos of WW2.
In one of the earlier scenes, Jude Law is in a train carrying his fellow soldiers to the front-line.
The look of defeat, sadness, fatigue and general bitterness was evident on all the soldiers faces…
When I hopped on a train to head to work the next morning, I couldn’t help but notice the almost exact look of defeat, sadness, fatigue and general bitterness on the faces of the workers in a train carrying them to the front line (the CBD).
Almost everyone was hunched up (this was middle of winter), sniffles were regular and people tried to keep to themselves as humanly possible in the packed environment. People were fixed to their phone screens with looks of apathy on their faces.
The mood was so depressive I just shook my head. The times had evolved but it seems, our emotions haven’t.
I vowed from that day on to try and be more positive – consciously.
Because honestly, it’s the little things in life which we should be grateful for.
A smile from a stranger, a message from a loved one, a meal with an old friend or even a moment in time with a salty truckie – these are the moments that we so often take for granted.
Because modern society and culture has bred a sense of entitlement don’t you think?
Why’s this train so crowded? Why can’t people just catch an earlier train?
Why’s the roads so busy? Can’t people take public transport?
Why should I message (insert friend name) first? Shouldn’t they message me if they want to see me?
The media fuels this sentiment with clickbait articles which prod, push and pull us into ways of thinking and acting which, from the outside in – make us appear meaner, nastier and angrier than we really are.
I can’t help it, you can’t help it, no one can help it – it’s just how the world is in 2018.
BUT there’s always conscious choice, you can choose to have the look of defeat, sadness, fatigue and general bitterness.
You can choose to sing some tunes from John Denver.
So I ask you, which one will you choose to be? What aspects in your life are you taking for granted?
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