Fortress of Solitude

Jorge Pinto.jpg

This is my 2012 Toyota Prius C. His name is Jorge Pinto. He's my fortress of solitude. 

The traffic in Austin can be brutal. Some people handle the challenges of the daily commute much better than others. I'm grateful that I only have a five mile drive to work. Even so, there are many opportunities every day to have a run in with a fellow driver. 

Very often, the actions of another driver would anger me. Or maybe I did something, real or imagined, that angered them. There might be rude gestures, evil stares, or the dreaded horn honking. 

These types of interactions started or ended my day off wrong. I might have been having a great hair day, singing along to my favorite song, then wham, my mood was soured. 

I knew I needed to find a way to let it go. That's when Jorge became my Fortress of Solitude. We'd decide what we let in, what we'd keep out. 

I imagined the angry fellow driver as offering me a bag of doggy doo-doo. "No thank you," I would say, "I don't need any of that, you can keep it."

Off I would go, still singing and having a great hair day. 

The more I did it, the easier it got. I realized they were only offering me their bad mood, I was the one accepting it. So I started to decline. 

Jorge and I reinforced our barriers, building higher and higher as we went. We thought our fortress was impenetrable but the other day someone breached the walls. 

I don't even know what prompted it, but a driver behind me suddenly started tailgating me, all the while honking his horn. And it didn't stop there. The driver followed me for several turns, never letting up on the horn. 

I guess he eventually got tired of the game when I didn't respond. He made a u-turn and I continued on my way. I was proud of myself for keeping my cool, I didn't even react. I didn't take the bag of doggy doo-doo he was offering. Or so I thought. 

Maybe I should make a u-turn and get his license plate. I could call the police and report the aggressive behavior. Yeah, that would show him. Other unwelcome and uncharitable thoughts crossed my mind as well.

I looked over in the passenger seat and there sat the bag of doggy doo-doo. I took what he was offering, and it was a big stinky bagful. 

When I got home, my husband greeted me with a kiss and asked me how my day was. I was tempted to tell him about the driver, but I'd only be passing the bag to him. It was bad enough I had taken it so I didn't say a word.

It took a couple of hours of constantly distracting my thoughts before I really let it go. By then, I had given that bag of doggy doo-doo too much of my precious time and attention. 

It turns out that you have to work really hard to maintain your fortress. Maybe once in a while someone will scale the wall but don't give up. The next time, I won't take it. The last thing I need is a bag of doggy doo-doo.