Road Signs

traffic calming

I’m directionally challenged. When I say that, I mean that I even have trouble following SIRI-instructed GPS instructions. Where I grew up it was really easy to tell North from South and East from West. The grasslands of Colorado will do that for you. However, after I moved to the city after high school I’ve had trouble with direction! I remember being so surprised at all the street names. I mean… I grew up on Road W. (I’m not kidding). I lived 1.5 miles east of my grandparent’s home. I knew this because my hometown was North, and my grandparents lived 15 REA poles adjacent to us on the “sun setting” side. I know you think I’m making this up, but I was truly disoriented when I discovered directions included street names and not landmarks. Then I discovered traffic signs that we never had in Baca County! I mean… “TRAFFIC CALMING”? We hardly had a need for stop signs, let alone traffic calming signs.

Last week on a back road–a short cut, carefully taught by my significant other–I encountered a “Traffic Calming Ahead” sign. Now granted… this sign has likely been there all along. However, I just HAVE become confident enough to notice things like traffic signs as I’ve been too busy looking for that white house with the green shutters (cuz – yeah. I still don’t use street signs so please don’t tell my husband). As I passed the sign, my first thought was, “Whaaaa????

I’m very eloquent when talking to myself. As I drove a little further there was a big speed bump in the road. Do you know I almost had to pull over to the side of the road to figure on what a speed bump had to do with “Traffic Calming Ahead”? I forced myself to go on, while my thoughts just jumbled together.

After I figured out what it meant, my next thought was, “Heck. What happens when the sign says, ‘TRAFFIC DRAMA AHEAD’ “? I guess I hope I don’t ever have to find out.

I suppose it’s nice that the city thinks so much of drivers to warn them in advance when they are going to force a change in driving attitude. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had road signs as we traversed LIFE?

Road Signs

It took me awhile to figure out, “Bridge Ices Before Road”. Longer still to figure out:

turtle crossing

Someone, somewhere, has been very conscientious about what lies ahead. Why can’t we have that kind of system to navigate life? I suppose in a way we do. As a person of faith, I certainly have prayed enough asking for guidance and clear direction on decisions.

I’ve also “bent the ear” of close friends when I’m trying to make decisions or determine what to do. I don’t know about YOUR life, but in my OWN? I’m often left thinking, “What just hit me?” after I’ve already encountered the hazard. There was no warning. Don’t for a moment think that I’m not paying attention either. I’m probably hyper-aware as I’m prone to some OCD tendencies. So why do I so often hit the speed bump at full speed (or crush the turtle)?


I have some folks in my life with some ADHD goin’ on. It kinda makes sense that they would miss signs. So how does someone who pays great attention to details, get distracted? Basically? I lose my focus. I may be driving along still thinking about:


That I failed to pay attention to the next warning:


So when my car dropped off the uneven pavement on one side, I screamed like a girl. Thank goodness I’m a girl.

Not only do I tend to perseverate – causing me to be distracted, I also tend to “worry something to death”. How many times do we worry about things we cannot change? Take a minute and list all the things you really have no control over. I’ll check back with you in a couple of months.

As a person of faith I try to:


I have to tell ya, though, I blow it again and again. I’m a “worrier”. I’m trying to do better because I’ve come to recognize it IS a big distraction for me. I miss warning signs, I become self-centered, I miss cues about other hurting people, and I step in doggie doo-doo (just laying it out there, folks).

The “Here and Now”

I’m having to learn to live in the “here and now”. I’m not very good at this. Don’t get me wrong… I think we should make plans and be prepared. Be an ant instead of a grasshopper. But I get awfully distracted about worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Worse? I worry about something that has already happened and can’t be changed.

I’m working hard to take one day at a time. I’m working hard to focus on the here and now. Example:

I’m fixin’ to walk into class and will be there for 50 minutes. How are my students today? Does anyone seem worried, distracted, tired, or ASLEEP? How can I make personality dispositions FUN? I don’t get any second chances. I don’t want to miss that one student looks shell-shocked, another likely high. (Dude? What have you been smokin’?)

I don’t get that 50 minute time segment back. It can be simplified beyond this, too. I’m trying to take more naps. I need them. I don’t know if it is because I’m “almost 50”, or if it is because I am fatigued from having to speech read and pay attention? I just know that I live for naps. If I have an opportunity to have one, I don’t want to lay there for 27 minutes of my hour available worrying about what I need to do. I’m learning to focus on calm – peace – rest – sleep.

My guess is that if you are reader of this blog, you have challenges of your own. You may be differently-abled or live with chronic illness or pain. Perhaps you are struggling with emotional health. Learning to ignore the distractions will help you focus – help you cope. It isn’t a cure-all. Occasionally you will still be taken by surprise. You are going to see and benefit from far more road signs if you are really paying attention. I hope you will work on it and if you have any tips, comment below! I know I take all the advice I can get!

L. Denise Portis

© 2015 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

One thought on “Road Signs

  1. I am 61 and I too live for my naps. I attribute the fatigue to speech reading and having to always work to hear and coupled with the deafness also have two other invisible disabilities. I do the best I can and if at times I’m off well tomorrow is another day!

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