Lost at my destination / by Brooks Watson

Recently, I was lost in LA, and my GPS wasn’t helping. I decided to pull over and recalibrate (both the GPS and an increasingly frustrated me). Now stopped, it only got worse, both the GPS in the car and on my phone kept defaulting to my destination without directions (damned google maps must be crashing I thought). After 5 minutes, I gave up and got out to ask directions. Sometimes analog is so much easier. As it turned out, google was trying to tell me something I wasn’t able to see. I had pulled over in front of my destination without knowing it.

This wasn’t the first time I’d been lost at my destination. It happened once before when I was 21. I’d been a volunteer firefighter for 3 years. In that time, I had about 3000 calls under my belt, along with a broken down car, and several failed or withdrawn college courses. I had a tendency to miss class in favor of going to calls. That was fine for the moment, but as the years passed, it was clear that I had no direction and no real inspiration for a career.

That summer, I visited Chicago for a cousin’s wedding. One late night after the wedding, I found myself at a pizza by the slice place on Lincoln Ave. Finding a foldable slice in Chicago is not any easy feat. As I stared out the window, CFD Truck 44 drove by. In my memory, time slowed down as they passed. It was 3 am and all the guys on the rig were laughing. I knew why.

They had the dream job. They were doing what they loved. It only occurred to me at that moment that I was already doing what I loved. The next day I applied for Chicago. That was 19 years ago and for the last 13 years, I’ve been assigned to Truck 44. We still laugh every day :)

Sometimes, we’re so busy searching for something unknown, that we miss what’s right in front of us. Today, I’m learning to slow down, take in the sights and enjoy the ride.