Flexibility is the ability to adapt and change amid the fluctuating circumstance of life. We go with the flow seeing the choices, challenges and opportunities in all that happens…. When the unexpected comes we rise to the challenge with resilience and confidence….From the “Flexibility” card that Dahn gave me.
I grumbled a little when I couldn’t unlock the hatchback to my car. It was 8am on Sunday (Monday in India) and I just got off the bus at the Logan Express where my car was packed. I was wide awake after spending the last 48 hours in airports and on airplanes. I slept for hours on the plane from Dubai to Boston (a 19 hour flight), determined to get enough sleep to drive the three hours home once we landed.
My suit case felt like it weighed a ton, loaded down with all the fabric I bought in India. I’d have to pull my car out of the parking space to be able to open the door wide enough to squeeze the suit case into the back seat of my two door Yaris.
As I backed my car out of the parking space something was terribly wrong.
Although the car moved, it felt like it was being dragged. The tires weren’t moving at all. I pulled the car back in, then out of the spot again. I got out of the car, walking around it looking at the tires, thinking they were all flat. They weren’t, but I saw the black tire marks on the pavement where I had driven.
I’ve had a lot of old cars in my life, and they’ve broken down on me many times, but I’ve never had anything like this happen before. All four of my wheels weren’t turning, it wasn’t good.
I called AAA and I called Jon.
Then I lost it.
Towards the end of the trip, when we were just about to leave Kolkata for Udiapur, I tried to get money from an ATM. Nadine, who had lots of experience with the ATM’s in India was helping me navigate the different options. After three tries I finally gave up.
“It’s the fucking bank,” I said to Nadine, annoyed that I couldn’t get money. “I called them to let them know I’d be in India, but I knew there’d be a problem. It’s just the way they are.” (I actually ultimately appreciate my banks safety precautions, even if they can be frustrating at times).
“Well I wondered when I’d hear you drop the f-bomb,” Nadine said to me. “It’s about time, I was beginning to think you weren’t human.”
A few days earlier, Dahn had handed each of us on the trip two different cards. They were the positive traits she saw in us. Mine was Wonder and Flexibility. I hadn’t thought about Wonder, but I’ve been working on being flexible since deciding to go to India.
If Nadine saw me in that parking lot she would have been proud.
I had had enough of “life’s challenges” and “fluctuating circumstances.” I just wanted to be home. I didn’t want to be stuck in a parking garage in Framingham Massachusetts. I didn’t want to wait for a tow truck to come. I didn’t want a three hour drive home sitting next to a tow truck driver. I didn’t want to have to wait for one more ride. I wanted to be in the drivers seat, taking myself home.
Frustrated and pissed off, I picked up my really heavy suitcase and threw it on the ground. Then I picked it up again and threw it one more time. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! I yelled as I did it. I may even have been stamping my feet.
Then I jammed the suitcase in the back of my car, closed the door and locked my keys in the car.
Luckily my phone wasn’t in the car. So I was able to call AAA back and tell them that along with my car not moving, I would also need someone to unlock my door.
I think it was at this point that I started to calm down. Or maybe I just gave up.
And that’s when Jon called me back. Jon who knows nothing about cars. Who can’t even change his own windshield wipers. He had gone online, on You Tube, and thought that the problem was that the emergency brake was stuck. Because I had driven to Boston in a snowstorm and left the car in a cold parking garage it was likely that I just needed to warm the car up to release the brake and allow the wheels to turn.
It wasn’t AAA at it’s best.
It took two hours for the tow truck to get to me. And after a lot of phone calls back and forth about garage clearance. The tow truck that eventually came was too big to get into the parking garage anyway.
But by then I was convinced that Jon was right about the parking brake and all I needed was someone to unlock my car.
After the tow truck driver opened my door (he couldn’t help with anything mechanical, could only tow the car) I let the car run a while and released and set the parking brake a few times. The first time I backed out of the parking spot my wheels were still locked. But as I pulled back in I felt the front wheels turn. As I pulled back out again, all four wheels were moving.
All those car people couldn’t help me, but Jon, sitting at home, in front of his computer, somehow knew what was wrong with my car.
I couldn’t wait to get on the road. I waved good-bye to the tow truck driver and got on I-90 headed home.