Fire trucks in New York.

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Image by Anthony Delanoix | Unsplash.com

The fire trucks go a lot slower in New York than they do in Adelaide.

For someone used to seeing fire trucks moving along city streets at speed, watching them thread their way through traffic on Eighth Avenue, with sirens wailing and horns blaring, is disconcerting – and hard on the ears. Maybe things burn a lot slower here than they do in Australia. Who knows?

But, it’s not just the fire trucks. The ambulances have a hard time getting through as well.

It’s not that the drivers here ignore emergency vehicles. New Yorkers are justifiably proud of their first responders, but drivers often have nowhere to go to get out of their way. New York’s grid of streets might make it easy for finding your way around, but it’s also packed with traffic lights to regulate the flow of traffic on the East – West streets that cross the busy avenues, and they seem to be very close together.

Eighth Avenue is one of the streets that carries traffic uptown. Interestingly, it has a lane that allows bike riders to slip past all that traffic which blocks in the emergency vehicles. Sometimes I see a fire department support vehicle or a NYPD squad car shoot up the bike lane, and I wonder if there is a lesson there for the City Council – like having a dedicated lane for emergency vehicles on Eighth Avenue.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic and The New Girlfriend. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.

Happily ever after

CC0 image |unstart.com

“And they lived happily ever after.”

What does that actually mean?

Is it just another way of writing: “The End”?

 

Or does it reflect our collective dream that, after surviving some life threatening adventure, the hero comes home and settles down to live the quiet life, like the rest of us?

Might work for fairy tales. It does not translate to real life.

Today, we are living with a lot of damaged heroes. Guys, who survived life threatening adventures, as soldiers in far away wars or as first responders closer to home, but who are definitely not living happily ever after, now that they are home. And neither are their loved ones, who are often baffled by the changes wrought on their heroes by their experiences.

But wait, it get’s worse.

The hero’s journey is not just for soldiers and first responders. All of us are called to the journey. A lot of us are too afraid to answer that call. We’d rather stay home in the village, where it’s safe. Who knows what could be lurking in the woods?

Those of us that undertake the journey are changed by the experience. That’s the nature of the journey.

Strangely, you don’t always have to physically leave home to undertake the journey, but you do have to move out of the comfort zone of your normal routines. You need to challenge your cherished beliefs. You need to question outer authorities and find your own inner authority. You need to discover a sense of self – beyond the one the village placed upon you.

Those that find their own inner authority are changed people. They might not look any different on the outside – which is why we give brave soldiers special medals – but they are very different on the inside. These are the ones that maintain their sense of self no matter what conditions they find themselves in.

These are the people you often feel uncomfortable around, because their sense of presence reminds you that you are afraid of shadows. These are the ones that remind you that, although there might be safety in numbers, the safety of the herd requires conforming with its rules, with its thinking.

Maybe it’s the ones who never go on the hero’s journey that live happily ever after.

Too late for me. I’ve already left the village.

Thanks for dropping by.

Peter.

Creative Commons Image from Unsplash.com