Had to catch myself yesterday afternoon when I went to downtown Santa Monica for two quick errands. Traffic there tends to get hairy and parking is always just a nightmare. I knew I would be facing a nine-story parking garage and forced to the top floor. By the time you slowly wind up nine stories, then wait equally as long for the elevator to go up that high you're pretty annoyed.
Especially knowing that coming back to your car you will be forced to wait again for the elevator and then drive the slow crawl back down all those levels to an accident-prone exit. It would be so much easier to come late on a weeknight but for the high cost of flat-rate evening parking after 6pm. It just doesn't make sense to come for 15 minutes and pay for the night.
The Little Bug was along with me yesterday. As we drove up floor after floor of the parking garage she began to exclaim with wonder about how beautiful it was and how much she could see. She continued to chatter about how much fun this was and how wonderful it was. She was right. It was a clear day. You could see 360 degrees of Los Angeles on a beautiful 80 degree day. You could catch brief glimpses of the ocean on one side and on the other side stunning views from the Getty to the Hollywood sign to the South Bay and beyond.
She begged me to park where we could see the ocean. I didn't because it was on the opposite side of the parking structure from where we needed to be. Once on the ground and in the craft store I just wanted to get in and get out. She wanted to go upstairs. I indulged her despite my true feelings on the matter.
By the time we got back to the parked car on the 9th floor I was dying to get home, get some lunch and get on to other projects. She asked me again to see the ocean. In my rush I almost turned her down again. Then it really hit me, what is the big deal? These little indulgences are so simple and so sweet, why would you not go out of your way to enjoy them with her? What am I so busy about?! Wouldn't it be good for my soul to see the ocean too? I was so caught up in things that didn't matter I almost completely missed the things that did.
We hopped in the car and I drove to the other side, parked and let her look out at the ocean. She again was full of glowing adjectives as we overlooked the shining blue bay. It was beautiful. It was healing and humbling as oceans often are. It and she taught me a big lesson yesterday. She knew seeing the ocean would be worth it. Stop and see the view. It was the best part of the day and I would've missed it but for a small, persistent voice guiding my way.
photo by Yan and Yung