Right before winter break, the city of Round Rock and the State of Texas combined forces to ruin my commute. In the middle of a school day, they took down the bridge allowing traffic to cross over the interstate near my apartment. Over 3 months later and there is still no bridge. Losing this bridge was like losing a loved one. I went through all the stages of grief.
- Denial- “The bridge can’t be gone.” “Surely they would have posted signs warning drivers. It was there this morning.” Unfortunately for me, this stage didn’t last long. It was pretty hard to deny the bridge was gone when I could clearly see the large gap where the concrete structure used to stand.
- Anger- “How dare they take the bridge with no warning. Don’t they know they’re more than doubling my commute home.” This stage was filled with more than one angry rant to my mom. Her patient explanations of why it probably happened did nothing but stir up the rage boiling deep inside me. However, eventually, that indignation cooled to annoyance. Then I moved to the next stage.
- Bargaining- “I don’t need the bridge now. As long as its back by February.” “Ok fine, just let the bridge be back by March. I won’t ever complain about my old commute if the bridge comes back.” Bargaining did nothing. If I’m being honest, sometimes when the bargains didn’t work I slid back a step to more anger. Eventually, though, I started to realize that no amount of bargaining or anger would work.
- Depression- “Why me? I’m never going to get my bridge back. Why god why?” I’m not proud to say that this stage was like a time machine to middle school angst. The self-centered dejection was all consuming. Some days, I’m surprised I finally reached the last stage…
- Acceptance- “Oh boy I get to drive home.” Now, every day as I exit the school and walk towards my car, I feel the excitement building. You may have felt a similar excitement before watching the next episode of a favorite TV show or picking up a new book in a beloved series. The anticipation of what is going to happen next. I have figured out a way to take the curse of the longer commute and make it a gift of time. Now every day on my way home from work I get to listen to an audiobook.
My more than doubled commute allows me ample time to get into the story and leaves me excited and waiting for the following days drive home. It’s interesting how a change in perspective (even if it takes a while) can change even what seems like a catastrophe into a blessing. And amazingly, I think I’m going to make it through my construction grief.