By: Alexis Jones
Image by Flickr/Dacookieman
I recently found myself in a rather “unique” situation, which is a euphemism for a “day from hell.” You ever been there? Those moments in life when you think it can’t possibly get any worse and sure enough, it does. Well, I had one of those days last Sunday and out of it (which is usually the hang-out place for epiphanies) I had a revelation! That being said, let me lay out the situation. After ten years of a fantastic relationship with my car (that I won on the Price is Right of all places) I was ready to give her to a new, loving owner and invest in a new car. I posted a passion-filled ad on Craig’s list and sure enough the perfect person popped up on my radar: a single dad new to Austin.
Having compassion for this man’s financial circumstances, I offered him a ridiculous discount because he seemed like such a sweetheart, and I could tell the car would go to good use. So after attending church, I figured I’d go have the car washed for this man (who had already come by to see the car and fell in love with it). In the middle of our rather violent car wash, my boyfriend made a joke that our car felt like it was being murdered. Only after our car (with us inside it) was spit out of the automatic car wash did we realize that’s exactly what had happened. The two men hand drying the car politely knocked on the door and pointed to both the side runner and the back bumper which had both miraculously been pulled off during the, apparently, abusive wash. I stood there in both disbelief and shock.
The manger was called over and after a minor dispute over blame, he asked that we follow him over to the nearest parts store to buy a hinge that would fix our predicament. My frustration over the car was mounting. I mean, I had just sold it! However, I kept my calm and while meandering around the car parts store I stumbled upon “touch up paint” for minor scratches. I figured while my boyfriend and the manager fiddled with the bumpers I’d fill in a teeny tiny scratch on the top of the passenger door. However, when I twisted off the entire top, instead of just pulling off the lid, I proceeded to literally dump black paint down the entire passenger door, window included. If I wasn’t angry before, this had just shot the absurdity of the situation through the roof. What are the chances that all of this could happen in T-minus two hours when my only intentions were to clean up the car and fill up the tank to surprise our sweet buyer.
Now here is where the epiphany flashed before my face. We make all these plans, set all these expectations and yes, sometimes life delivers them accordingly. But other times we get the exact opposite of what we wanted. A simple situation is traded in for frustrating, angry, and unforeseen circumstances that presents (and here’s the kicker) us an opportunity to exercise our tolerance, our patience, our understanding, and our emotional resilience. My gut reaction was to cry, throw a fit, blame this “stupid car wash manger” for beating up my car, and blame my boyfriend for the suggestion we even go to that car wash in the first place. But as the seconds ticked by, I realized I had a choice. Yes, I could certainly make a scene and react in a bratty way, allowing my anger and self-righteousness to win out or I could laugh hysterically at the absurdity of it all. I could accept it all as one huge mistake and move on. I opted for laughter. In fact, when my boyfriend returned with paper towels to attempt to sop up the paint (which had already dried) we both laughed from the bottom of our bellies. There was no blame, no finger pointing or self loathing just an, “oh well, $%& happens” attitude.
Of course we got the bumpers all fixed up and gave the man a discount for the paint situation (who actually wrote me days later saying what a blessing it was that we gave him such a good deal on a car that would be wonderful for him and his son). All I’m saying is that when you’re in the middle of it and it’s raining cats and dogs in the “this really sucks” category, remember you always have an option, and if you can take it a step further and actually be grateful (not necessarily like it, but appreciate it), then you really are on your way to being Yoda. It’s not about if, it’s about when life hands you lemons. So the only real question is: Are you willing to laugh your way to the pantry, grab a hell of a lot of sugar, and maybe even a shot of tequila? (If you’re over 21 of course)? ;)