Rumble strips. You probably call them something else. I know I did. Warning strips. Those annoying things on the side of the road that make this weird noise and let everyone know you almost lost control of your car. Those weird bumps in the road that will wake you up when you drive over them if you’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.
They give you signals that you’re about to make a huge mistake. Kind of like a big, flashing neon sign that says ‘Danger, Danger, Look out, You’re about to total your car’. I was traveling a few months ago and found them in the middle of a two lane road. At first I thought it was kind of funny until I noticed the guy ahead of me swerving across the yellow line – clearly drunk – and how fast he went back to the right lane after running over the rumble strip.
Then I wondered how many drunk drivers they had to have traveling that stretch of road to make rumble strips a good idea. Kind of sad and scary.
So these rumble strips obviously save lives and reduce accidents. By now you know how my mind works so it shouldn’t come a too big a surprise when I started thinking about what life would be like if we all had rumble strips for the decisions we make.
I’ll give you a few examples.
I’m in a store and I see something I fall in love with instantly. I know I won’t be able to pay my rent next week if I buy it, but I must have it. That’s what they make credit cards for, right? RUMBLE, RUMBLE, RUMBLE
I’ve been disrespected again at work. My boss is a chauvinistic pig that will never take me seriously. There is no way I can retain my self-respect and still work for him. I know I don’t have another job lined up and I can’t afford to be out of work right now, but how can I live with myself if I take his abuse one more day? RUMBLE, RUMBLE, RUMBLE
I just met this guy. He’s got this air of mystery and danger about him that I find irresistible. Plus he’s cute. I know he has a horrible reputation for being irresponsible and abusive. But I can change him, right? He just hasn’t found the right woman yet. RUMBLE, RUMBLE, RUMBLE
I’ve already had 6 beers…
You get the picture.
But wishing for external warnings for bad decisions is just another way of shirking our responsibility. I’m going to admit it now even if I couldn’t before. There were plenty of times when I made a questionable decision that I knew was a bad idea (i.e. I got married at 19 to a I guy I had only known for about a month).
I knew. I had a rumble strip going off in my head, my heart, my spirit. Hell, my whole body was rumbling, but at some point I learned to ignore the warnings. I was stubborn like that. But you get the point, right?
I LEARNED to ignore the warnings. I felt, heard, saw the rumbles and chose to look the other way. Part of it was being young. Part of it was being stubborn. Part of it was being arrogant. But at some point I ran out of excuses (reasons, if I’m being kind).
At some point I had to face those rumbles head on and admit that just because I want to do something doesn’t mean I should. I had to see that there are more important things in life than the ‘right here, right now’. I had to realize that instant gratification would lead me down a path of misery and heartache.
So yeah, it would be nice if life had external rumble strips bought and paid for by someone else. But then again would we really want everyone to know when we’re about to make a bad decision?
Nope, I’ll stick with my internal warning system. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better. Now it only takes one RUMBLE before I change my mind…