Utah seems to always be in a state of construction. I’m not sure if it is because the state has the money do redo all the roads or if I just happened to move here when every road in the state needed repair, but needless to say, everywhere you go you will end up being stuck in construction in some form or another.
On my way to work, right off the freeway in a very well traveled area there is construction being done. I think they are putting new piping down under the road but that’s beside the point. They have the road down to a single lane, one way, and have to stop each direction of traffic in intervals to let the other direction get through. This road is the quickest way from the freeway to most of the businesses in that area of the city so within minutes of traffic being stopped, there is always a line of at least ten cars at the construction zone.
Everyone hates construction. It can completely ruin your day if you let it and I notice many people either turning around when they hit this construction off the freeway, or flashing rude expressions at the construction workers holding the SLOW/ STOP signs.
I know this construction is there. I come this way every single day to get to work, and have done so for a couple years now. I know there is another way for me to get to work and if I actually wanted to, I could avoid the construction completely, but I like my routine, construction aside, and take the same road in to work every day. I think things like this help exercise my patience which is a tool I don’t want to get rusty.
Recently though, something at the construction zone has changed. A new construction worker has been assigned to hold the STOP/SLOW sign at the beginning of the construction. The odd thing about this is that this woman, who everyone is glaring at for making them late for work, smiles and waves at every driver that comes by…
I can only imagine what this woman’s life is like…
*cut scene to hazy flashback*
She is in her late thirties or early forties. She is done having kids and her husband lost his job due to the recession. She has no choice but to go back to work just so they can keep their tiny home in the bad neighborhood. She goes home each night, late, sore from head to toe, her face red and leathery from the suns harsh rays beating down on it all day. Her husband is plopped in front of the TV with a beer and doesn’t notice her come in but is expecting dinner as soon as she steps into the house. She thinks back on her life and wishes she had gone to college or read more personal finance blogs…and she begins to sob uncontrollably…
*cut back to real life*
OK, I don’t actually know this women, nor do I know why she is working but I do know that even though it’s early and no one is happy that she is holding a sign telling them to STOP, she is happy and shows it to everyone. When you see that woman’s rugged smile, waving wildly as if you are an old friend, the anger and frustration at the construction just melts away.
This experience every morning only concretes the theory that money does not buy happiness and that you, and you alone need to choose to be happy whatever your situation may be.
Image by ericmerrill br>
Tags: cars, construction worker, construction workers, construction zone, early forties, expressions, flashback, freeway, intervals, new construction, patience, piping, routine construction, single day, smiles, stop signs, thirties, traffic, traveled area, waves