Last Saturday my friend Cha Cha and I were on our way to a toddler's birthday party in Greenwich complete with a petting zoo (naturally), a party where Belle would soon have her own confrontation with a goat named "Pants."
Note: It's unclear whether Belle and Pants' entire relationship was filled with MEAN GIRLS tension or an unsteady attempt at "Let's be Friends" (although I think Pants was more the former and Belle the latter.)
Anyway, as Cha Cha and I exited the garage where my favorite ZipCar sleeps, I took a left turn on the yellow left turn light, causing the rider of a green motorcycle (who was clearly going through a red light) to do a double-take, then stop in the middle of traffic to curse me.
Next, he took a bizarre illegal U-turn and followed me three blocks back to my apartment building, where he got off his green motorcycle and began screaming at me in my parked ZipCar.
He shouted things like, "If you didn't live in such a nice neighborhood you'd probably be dead by now."
"It's people like YOU that ruin things for everyone."
(I wondered for a moment what group he was ascribing me to, but he quickly clarified that the YOU was "Cab drivers, Uber drivers, and YOU people in rental cars!")
I politely informed him that my light was actually yellow and that his was red--seconded by both Cha Cha and the fact that all the other cars on his side were stopped--which incensed Mr. Green Motorcycle even more.
He kept insisting I was dead wrong.
I repeated that I'd really prefer not to call the police (after all, I sensed the whole Belle/Pants intrigue was waiting in our near future) and I was just about to dial 911, when he got in his last words, made a second illegal U-turn, speeding away into oncoming traffic.
Now, clearly, this was not my new friend's first foray into road rage.
I was obviously part of a long, long chain of his biker victimization.
"My people" (Cab drivers, Uber drivers, and rental car folks) had clearly been enraging him for quite some time.
Unfortunately, he had no tools (other than road rage) to deal with twists in the flow.
(Neither apparently does this guy...sigh)
Back to the flow of traffic...
I live in NYC on a street corner, and two weeks ago, without any notice, the direction of the street alongside my apartment building changed.
For years, maybe forever, the traffic went east and then one day, suddenly it's flowing west.
No one told us this was happening--and there are usually five emails whenever there's the most minor change about anything in the building.
It just happened. The directions suddenly and inexplicably reversed.
I have a bird's eye view of the corner, and so far I've seen no accidents because of this and yet...
I have gotten into at least five arguments with cab drivers unaware of the change, insisting we cannot travel west on my street, even though I tell them "Trust me: I live there. They changed the directions last week."
Cabbies always shake their heads and mutter, until they see I'm right, then just shrug their shoulders, accepting that in NYC sometimes traffic takes a "Dolphin Turn."
"Volta" is a word I had totally forgotten.
In fact, I probably haven't heard or used it since my junior year English Major poetry seminar.
The Volta is the point in a poem--whether a formal sonnet or something less highly structured--where things "turn."
Sometimes the poet's thoughts reverse, or reveal a level of irony.
Sometimes the emotions simply go deeper and deliver their punchline.
And while Wikipedia gives nine kinds of examples of Voltas (ironic, emblem, retrospective etc.), my favorite kind is
THE DOLPHIN TURN.
THE DOLPHIN TURN's name is taken from the poet Robert Lowell's magical line:
"Dolphin, you only guide me by surprise."
According to lit critic Peter Sacks, "The dolphin is associated with such turning, of course, because it is a creature that itself is always transgressing boundaries, leaping and diving."
In these complicated times, where directions are changing constantly, we definitely need to master the Dolphin turn...but sometimes I think we might need to adopt another Dolphin strategy now, and
start forming Super Pods.
Like Dolphins, we humans might be at our best (and worst) in Pods, dolphin's social groups of about a dozen.
In other words, they work best and are happiest when they form Tribes.
And here's a really interesting thing:
In 2008, typical South African pods were in groups of 18; in 2016, the average size was 76; today, it's now 325.
In fact, five years ago, the largest dolphin pod ever sighted was observed off the cost of San Diego.
Over five miles wide, it involved over 100,000 dolphins.
Scientists are baffled as to why this is happening.
Dolphins might be gathering to avoid great white sharks...or perhaps there's an amazing crop of particularly delicious fish.
No one knows.
And yet, it seems pretty obvious that the dolphins have figured something powerful out.
At the very least, they seem to be having a tremendous amount of fun.
These are complicated times.
SNL parodies are pretty much transcripts from real life.
Street signs change overnight, and without warning.
Cab drivers insist the road only travels east and won't believe otherwise until they see it themselves.
And green motorcyclists make illegal u-turns to complain about your driving.
More and more, I really do think the dolphins might just have a few answers.
Turning and leaping as they wish ... forming Super-Pods and Mega Super-Pods for unknown but delight-filled reasons.
I can't wait to share how all this applies towards Wellness and Wealth very soon.
Please give me another 2 weeks of Dolphin Turning to share what's ahead.
In the meantime...
Let's try practicing being
Guided by Surprise
and see where those graceful turns takes us.
Namaste for Now,