One of the things I enjoyed about my solitary travels chasing a spot on the Champions Tour was driving.
I flew to each tournament, but sometimes there was a chance at consolidation. In Florida, for example, I would fly into West Palm Beach to visit my parents and then spend four weeks commuting to the qualifiers in Miami and Naples and then drifting over to the Gulf of Mexico side for the ones in Sarasota and Tampa.
One year, the Indianapolis and Cincinnati tournaments were back to back, so I flew into Cincinnati, picked up the car and drove up to Indianapolis for the week. Indianapolis over, I drove back to Cincinnati for the week. This avoided a drop-off charge on the car and gave me three hours of quiet thought as I took in the beautiful Indiana countryside (I was most surprised by all the trees—I imagined it as all farmland).
And I wrote earlier about my cancelled Denver flight that caused me to drive thirteen hours to St. Louis. I left at noon and arrived at 1:00 AM. It wasn’t so bad because it was cruise control the whole way on I-70. I was annoyed at the inconvenience, but I was also looking forward to the time for solitary thought. Although, in looking back at it, I must admit that when I hit Kansas City at the eight-hour mark, I wondered why I didn’t check to see if I could catch a flight at least that far. I had a map. But it didn’t look that far and the lure of the road was powerful. Gotta go. Gotta go.
And once I was in whatever city it was that week, I enjoyed the think time between the hotel, the course, the hotel, wherever I had to park for my run, the hotel and dinner. It gave me time to relax in a comfortable bucket seat, to take in the scenery of new places, to reexamine my commitment to my quest, to roll the holes of the courses through my mind, to play mind-time videos of my swing looking for an idea or an affirmation. It was delightful and alluring.
Then one day, I was driving through some back streets in Tampa and came upon a stopped school bus, but a school bus unlike any other I’d ever seen. In addition to having the standard yellow paint job, it had the customary red-blinking lights across the top and the somewhat newer embellishment of the pop-out stop sign next to the driver’s window. But the thing that made this one different was the strobe light on top.
And I thought, “So a big, yellow bus wasn’t enough and blinking lights weren’t enough and a pop-out stop sign wasn’t enough. Now they have to add a strobe light? What’s next, for crying out loud? The bus comes to a stop and pyrotechnics shoot out of the top?”
And I wondered why in the world they thought they had to go to such extremes.
And then I saw that I had some additional work to do to be able to really pay attention to my golf swing.
And I’m much more careful on cell phone calls from the car.
It’s all the same.