Friday, August 05, 2005

Sleeping Policemen

In Ireland, they call speed bumps "ramps". Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Ramps are meant to take you up and away. Speed bumps are meant to slow you down.

The French have a great name for the speed bump. According to my friend Deb, a French translator, they call it gendarme couchere - the sleeping policeman. It's the perfect name - descriptive and imaginative. To me, the name says a lot about the function on the speed bump, about how it acts as an external regulator to force you into observing the law. It reminds me of how on a certain Illinois highway, the cops would park a patrol car in a visible area on the side of the road. As you zoomed up on it, you'd slow down, only to find out that the shape in the driver's seat was a mannequin wearing a highway patrol hat.

Peter gets annoyed by speed bumps and he gets especially annoyed by drivers who tip-toe over speed bumps at 5 mph. I tend to take speed bumps in better stride, but then I'm not a very fast driver anyway. I find myself more vexed by figurative speed bumps. I've hit a few lately.

Marathon training. I'm on the bench for the next 5 days, at least, with suspected tendonitis of the right foot. I'm missing 11 miles of short runs and 7 miles of long runs. In addition, I had a nasty cold last week and missed another 8 miles of short run. Yes, add it up, math geniuses, and I've missed an entire marathon of running in my marathon training. It makes me edgy to miss runs and cheat on the training, but I can't run with a searing pain in my foot or when I'm coughing up a lung.

Book writing. I've been a bad kid recently when it comes to the 2 page a day rule. With the contract job, I spend 8 hours writing mind-numbing instructions for computer software. I don't want to even glance at a computer when I come home. This shirking of my writing does not bode well for my prospects when I get a "real" job. I'm going to have to buckle down big-time.

Post-vacation depression. Germany was so much fun, coming home was bit of a bummer. I had a few days of severe post-vacation depression, which made me grumpy and lethargic.

Rejections. I've struck out on the last three job interviews, which is wreaking havoc with my interview-to-job-offer ratio. I also got a "sorry, we don't publish young adult fiction anymore" letter from the publisher that I was most interested in. I know I shouldn't be taking these rejections seriously, but it's easy (and entirely human) to get a little demoralized.

What can I do, when I hit one of these pesky sleeping policemen? Slow down and pay attention. Speed bumps aren't put there just to ruin your day, even though sometimes it feels that way. They're meant to make you pay attention to what you're doing. I can't run, but I can use that time to write. And when I'm burned out on computers, I should still be thinking of my characters and trying to come up with new plot ideas. Just because my fingers aren't writing doesn't mean my brain can't be writing.

When the speed bumps are too many, too close together, it might be time to try a different road. I love driving in the country in Ireland because there's no right or good way to get anywhere. There's just a spaghetti pot of unnamed roads with sign posts to point you in the right general direction. As long as you're headed in the right direction, you'll get there eventually, no matter how many sleeping policeman you have to run over on the journey.


At 5 August 2005 at 19:35, Blogger Gustad said...

ramps!!? fools! hehe
cool site. keep writting

At 11 August 2005 at 21:09, Blogger Lyss said...

I've also been slacking on my writing...
Sorry to hear about your foot. SIckness all around. I've also been sick, my roommate has strep (and refuses to go to the doc. I know it's strep- I saw white spots on his tonsils), and another friend is ill with a, get this, water-borne pathogen from going swimming on his camping trip last weekend.

At 19 August 2005 at 18:15, Blogger Flop said...

Wow, some of that sounds all too familiar. Keep writing (both kinds).

At 31 August 2005 at 06:48, Blogger The Aupair said...

Rejection sucks- I truly sympathise. It's hard not to take it personal and wallow in self-doubt (the worst feeling in the world). Keep trucking along- perseverance pays off and you have a lot of talent.

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