Thoughts while stuck on I-70
Vail CO, Colorado
I was headed into Vail from Avon the other day when I got stuck in traffic. Anyone who has ventured out onto I-70 over the past few weeks knows what I am talking about. As we moved along in the right lane at a snail’s pace my initial reaction was anger. Why couldn’t they do this at night? Why do people keep flying past me on the left? Don’t they know they are the reason for the bottlenecking and slow pace? Are they somehow in a bigger hurry than I am? Are they more important?
Perhaps if the traffic had subsided quickly that would have been it. I would have filled my head with a few angry thoughts, adding them to the growing pile associated with various other aspects of my life and gone about my business. Of course, according to modern scientific research, eventually all that negativity would take its toll and lead to a breakdown of some sort. Maybe it would be quick. I could snap and start beating my dogs. Or possibly a slower release would be more my style. I could simply slip into a deep depressive state gradually leaching out my anger to those around me, making their lives miserable as I continued circled the drain. Then again what do modern scientists know? Aren’t they the ones making all these claims about climate change? Come on.
Luckily for me, and potentially my dogs as well, I spent a good 20 minutes stuck on the interstate that day. The semi ahead, blocking most of my view, eliminated the option of mindless daydreaming and forced a change in my thoughts. I began to realize that there sure were a lot of people in this valley. I wondered what they were all doing here?
I thought maybe the people speeding by really were in a hurry. Who am I to say? Though the chances are slim, they may have even been more important than me. Perish the thought! At any rate, I certainly wasn’t in a rush and after I settled down a bit, didn’t mind the time to think.
My thoughts began to shift further. Where did all these people live? Did they live high on a mountain or down in the valley? Did they have dogs? Did they even like dogs? Had they ever seen a bear? What did they spend there time doing? Did they hike, bike, buy houses or sell them? Had I met any of them before?
The questions flowed through my mind like the Eagle River I was finally coming upon. As the traffic finally broke up I realized that yes, there are a lot of people here. More are coming everyday. Though we are all here for one reason or another, that reason is certainly not the same for each of us. Living higher on the mountain than another may undoubtedly provide a better view, however, it does not justify the ignorant judgment of those below. If you are lucky enough to live at the top, realize it and enjoy it, but understand that the people you look down upon may not necessarily be looking up to you.
Ryan Sutter of Avon writes a biweekly column for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.