I’m a woman with a wandering mind…

My thoughts sometimes flow rapid fire…to the point where I’ll end up thinking about a trip I took twenty years ago and I’ll wonder, “How did my mind get here?” I go back and try to trace my mental steps from my original thought (which was probably something like, I think we’re out of milk).

When one thought leads to something completely unrelated…you’ve derailed your thought train.

Wait – Did I just make that up?

If you have a train of thought…you can certainly have a thought train.

Right?

Where did that expression come from, anyway? Is it because trains move quickly…or because there are lot of different connected cars, like thoughts…or because the train (and the thoughts) are going somewhere (one hopes)? My kids keep asking to go on a train.  I think there’s a cheap train from Wickford to Boston. That would be fun.  We could go to the Museum of Art.  I think they are old enough for that now. When was I there last? Oh yah, it was a date. Ninety-something…what was his name? He looked like Tom Hanks.  I love Tom Hanks. Turns out I didn’t love the guy, though. 

Aaaaannnndddd.…there you go – A DERAILED THOUGHT TRAIN. They are fast.  You’ve gotta pay attention or you’ll miss your stop and you won’t know how you ended up in the middle of nowhere.

Back to my point….er, destination…?

This morning I was driving over the Newport Bridge like I do multiple times a week. There was a big sign indicating that if one’s EZ Pass isn’t properly mounted, they’ll be charged a higher toll.

25% of the time when I go through the booths with a lever, my EZ Pass fails and I’m stuck paying $4 (instead of .88 on the EZ Pass).  So I  use the high speed lane whenever I can, so I don’t have to stop. This is only a problem when they close that lane, as they did often during recent construction.

I thought…

You really need to go to the Bridge Authority and get a new EZ Pass before the construction starts again and they close the high speed lane.

I wonder if the high speed sensors are even reading my EZ Pass?

How would I know? There isn’t any light that indicates it worked.

I never look at my EZ Pass statements.  

What if I’ve been charged extra because my pass doesn’t work sometimes?

Nah, there was just that one time I got the notice stating my usage had increased.

That was back in the winter when the number of times I went over the bridge nearly doubled.

I was going back over the bridge all those nights to have dinner with mom.

Because dad died.

Dad is dead.

{And then the tears came.}

How dare those EZ Pass bastards remind me of my pain with their banner? So rude.

Okay, maybe it’s not their fault. The fact is, when you’re grieving, many of your thought trains lead back to the source of your pain. Grief owns a whole lot of real estate in your mind, so these runaway thought trains are bound to land there with frequency.

Over time I suppose you begin to land there a bit less often.  It has been eight months for me. I still think about my dad many times throughout every day…but this doesn’t always derail my thought train.

Sometimes I just notice him there, wistfully, as the train passes him by.

Other times, the train crashes, leaving me wrecked…all because of a damned EZ Pass.


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