Long story short, I had to leave work this morning for a doctor's appointment. A bite on my leg had agitated me so much in my sleep two nights ago, I scratched it raw and woke up my lovely wife in the process. The next day, it was inflamed and had actually begun to blister (!) and generate heat (!!).
My intent was to treat it with Solarcaine and ibuprofen, but my co-workers saw it and insisted I get it checked out. Since we are leaving on vacation tomorrow, that seemed like sound advice. Rather than roll the dice at the nearest Medi-Clinic (what, Rabbit Hill Road?), I got double-booked at my family doctor for later that morning.
My intention was to leave in plenty of time, and prior to that, set up all my Out of Office mechanisms on the off chance I didn't make it back to the office in time. Lo and behold, I get a call that takes 45 minutes just to organize things enough so it can get resolved by someone else, a real schmozzle. The next thing you know, I am trying to set my e-mail, clear my desk, let my boss know what needs to get sorted out and bumble out the door, so I can hit the construction-bound Anthony Henday Drive (Edmonton's attempt at a proper ring road) and start motoring towards my appointment in hour 5 of a projected 27 hour light rainfall.
I am trying to resist speeding as much as possible, due in no small part to PCL construction's brilliant "SLOW DOWN - My Dad (Daughter, Son, Husband, etc) Works Here!" signs, but it's hard, and when one of Edmonton's notoriously craptastic drivers cuts me off without even signalling, it earns him a stream of profanity uninterrupted for 30 seconds and without repetition.
Needless to say, by this point, it is safe to describe my general state of being as 'wound to a tightness approaching significance'.
As I prepare to turn off the Henday onto 137th Avenue, I look at the dash clock, and calculate that if I can get to the clinic in 10 minutes, I will only be 5 minutes late. I hate being late, and fear they might triple book me or do something equally egregious.
Turning on to 137th, there was a car parked on the shoulder. Fair enough, we are out into the sticks here, and not a lot of traffic outside of rush hour when it is like a hate crime full of cars, so no big deal. But I was curious as to the why, since it was neither close to the construction sites nor an oversized pick-up truck. I looked for the driver and there he was: in the ditch, with a bucket, picking wild berries in the drizzle.
I immediately started wondering what sort of berries they were; blueberries were my first thought, but wild raspberries abound out here, we even have a bush in our back yard. As I speculated, I noticed very quickly, that I was no longer in a hurry.
Simply seeing this fellow in the simple act of pulling his car over and harvesting some wild fruit was enough to change my state of mind, and remove a significant portion of my anxiety.
I wish I could have taken a picture and put it under the PCL "Slow Down!" sign, but at the very least I can share a lesson about how the guy who most needs to get off our back is sometimes us.