TRANSLATION: MEMPHIS: Moments of Grace 

Ahh…the season it is. A time for hustle and bustle, as the cliché demands.

Of course, the month for last minute shopping and shopping and shopping brings with it the unfortunate dilemma of how to drive ANYWHERE without ending up in a wreck.

It seems that the would-be Santa’s of the world lose track of the little things, such as those yellow and white lines in the roads. Pedestrians dreaming of sugar plums can be seen dancing into the center of almost every intersection in the city, and I won’t even get into the logistics of trying to make one’s way through the mall…

I attempted to brave Wolfchase this weekend, and I didn’t even get to see Mr. Claus what with the intricate waltz that is walking through a mall in December. Therein is yet one more reason to patronize the small independent places of business that aren’t located in a shopping center.

But back to the driving. In the last week, I have seen more wrecks and almost wrecks than in the previous six months combined. Not that I’m the perfect driver.

When heading South on Cleveland the other day, I was reminded of a beautiful little event that occurred in my driving life not to long ago--one I thought I’d share in the light of the season. It was inspiring to me, at least.

I was on this particular occasion heading South on Cleveland, towards Jefferson en route to a storage facility where my best friend had stowed away her things when she left for the bright lights of Los Angeles.

At this point in my life as a Memphian, I was not yet aware of that tiny quirk wherein you can’t go left almost anywhere in the city, and especially in that part of the city. So, obviously, I went left.

In my defense, I was en route to fulfilling a favor for somebody, so I technically should have been exempt from the no left rule. I say this in jest, but I also think that it is the type of thinking that informs our collective behavior on the roads during the season of good tidings and such.

Needless to say, my bad decision was rewarded with the appearance of flashing lights, and a certain settling in the pit of my stomach that can only be translated as “damn it.”

I rolled down my window, awaiting the appearance of the harbinger of my punishment, and listened to the sound of those heavy black boots approaching. And then, something amazing happened!

With a crack and a roll, the sky poured down with the most amazing deluge I have ever been so happy to witness. Then the officer who was about to ticket me told me to forget it, and ran back to his car…I was free!

Though this was a major moment of victory for me, and I thank the kind heart of the officer who didn’t want to be wet, it’s obvious that this type of thing doesn’t happen every day.

In my particular case, I think it was payback for the time that I was pulled over by a Memphis officer in squad car #666, and given a court date of Friday the 13th. (Truly, I am not making that up!)

My point, though, is that we are subject to the laws of traffic and mortality even when we’re out doing things for othersÉso drive carefully, because I, for one, want to make it home for the holidays.

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