Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do You Trust Your Brakes?

I was cleaning old text messages off of my phone this evening and I came to a thread between my sister and I when she was home from Korea in July.  I read through it before deleting it and was reminded of a silly scenario that we made into a metaphor one night when we popped into a friend's barn for an impromptu visit on the way to Weis market.  I almost forgot about it, accept she mentioned it in one of her last messages to me before she boarded her plane to return to Korea.  She asked me, "Do you trust your brakes?"

We were standing around bullshitting about this and that and then as the guys began to talk politics our right brain geared minds grew bored and started playing with thoughts and objects laying about. Luckily there were some matchbox cars sitting on something nearby.  My sister immediately started to drive them around and make noises.  It is this childlike side of her presence that I miss the most, the one that makes me laugh and jokes me out of sadness.  I miss that side of her that gets that side of me going until we are suddenly playing with matchbox cars like children while adults discuss the government around us.  Oblivious.  We've honed our skill well; my sister and I can block out the world with our childhood coping mechanisms anytime.  This isn't always the most polite of things to do and I am sure we can seem rude, but we sometimes have little control over where the moment takes us. 

This moment took us to high speeds in a pretend car, jumping over ramps and heading straight for a wall.  One of us did the fake squeaky brake noise as the car stopped suddenly.  I remember posing the question, "Yes, but do you trust your brakes?"  Heading at a wall at high speeds how can you be sure that your brakes are indeed going to work when the moment comes?  How do you know that they will stop you?  You need to have a certain amount of faith in your brakes, to trust them in a huge sense.  But should you have to trust them so much when so many variables are influenced by you?  Speed, for one, is always a factor and it can be controlled.

If you head straight into anything  balls to the wall, you risk coming to a sudden lethal stop if you don't control your speed or use your brakes.  Most of the time though, people take for granted that their brakes are there.  They take off out of the gate pedal to the floor, burnin' tire, hootin' and a hollerin', speeding into the world...and trust that this system will later be in place to stop them before they get into any danger.  On a dime, even.  This isn't always the case, though, is it?  Should we be so bold as to let the future of our lives up to a precaution we don't have COMPLETE control over? Some people underestimate their speed and forget that they are in control of the brakes.  They are essentially only a steering passenger, but their judgement is needed, they are still commanding the vehicle.  The timing is their decision...their choice.  Whenever and however your vehicle comes to a stop is [in most cases and figuratively] up to you.  You are the matchbox car.  You control the brakes. 

So, do you trust your brakes?  Do you trust that you will stop when the time comes, when it matters most?  When you want to?  When you need to?  Or will you hit that wall?  There's a chance that you could even survive hitting a wall, there's a smaller chance you could crash right on through it.  Your brakes may be immaculate and you may have steel strong willpower.  So then, if you trust your brakes, do you trust yourself to use them?  Now, a metaphor.

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