Best Laid Plans

Just as there are two ways of looking at a glass, there are two ways of looking at life. We can either expect that everything will work out as planned and plan our time accordingly, or we can expect that things will go wrong and allow plenty of extra time. I come from the half-full glass camp filled with those of us who expect everything to go just so and so allow just enough time. Which is why I find myself sitting in a line of dark cars at midnight, waiting. It’s been a busy day in a busy two weeks. I’m in Texas celebrating the birth of my new picture book, Dance, Y’all, Dance. This past weekend, I had a grand time at the Texas Book Festival where I hugged on lots of Texas writer friends, made a few new ones, and saw some fabulous books and presentations. Today I met with Marty, my picture book exploration partner for a few hours followed by a late lunch with other writer friends, Kimberly Morris and Kathy Duval then raced (rather puttered through) Houston traffic to Tracy Gee Community Center for the SCBWI-Houston meeting. Such a joy to see so many old friends mixed in with the new faces gathered for the meeting. After the meeting, I jumped into my compact too-cheap-to-pay-for-frills rental Hyundai and zipped north on I45. Tomorrow, I have a school visit at Hastings Elementary in Duncanville, 3 ½ hours away.

I passed the first hour of driving rehashing the day and the meeting with Marty. The next hour whizzed by with the highway signs. Proud of my progress, I was contemplating using a few of my extra commuter minutes to treat myself to Taco Bell when I rolled into a construction area. Unconcerned, I slowed, expecting to coast through the zone; the road ahead looked clear expect for some flashing lights in the distance, which I took to be a construction crew.

It wasn’t.

It was a line of cars and trucks waiting beside a flashing police vehicle.

I joined the queue expecting any second that we would be flagged to go.

As it turns out, we may never be flagged to go—definitely not for a while.

At the head of the line is a beached sixteen wheeler. It flipped and skidded on its side. The guy who called this news to me as he passed didn’t know if anyone was injured, but did know we were going to be here “a good long while.”

And so, an hour in distance from Duncanville and my waiting hotel bed and my school of expectant students and teachers, and no telling how many waiting hours away, I’m sitting in the driver seat waiting--and my water bottle is empty.