My morning commute is generally uneventful. I drive down the same road, turn down one or two streets and I’m already sitting gingerly in front of the office. Since the drive is short, it’s rare that I see something interesting enough to pull me out of my daydreams.
Yesterday I sat patiently at a red light when I noticed a car across the way with its hazards flashing. A frantic-looking woman sat in the front seat. Behind the car was an older gentleman in a bright orange t-shirt and jeans. He looked about my father’s age but a little more worldly. He was pushing the car (which I can only hope was in neutral). His muscles beneath his shirt bulged but his eyes remained incredibly focused on the task at hand.
I drove by slowly as the light flashed green and wondered if he would be late for work; if his boss would believe his story. I wondered what other cars he had to push in his life, what battles he had to fight.
I wondered how many people drove by without stopping to lend a hand. Then I felt like a complete jerk for not stopping either. Worrying instead about getting a coffee and to work on time. I probably wouldn’t be able to push the car but I could have offered to help, to call a tow truck.
We all have a battle that we’re fighting, a goal or a dream to conquer. Some of us shy away or cower, some of us ignore the problem and sit down with a cappuccino as if nothing is wrong, while others..
…others push the fucking car until it gets to where it has to go.
It began with a phone call, as most adventures do. My brother on the other end of the line, speaking in a hushed tone. He got a flat tire on the highway and needed someone to bring him a spare, some tools, and patience. I volunteered and dragged Alex along.
We found my brother and his girlfriend sitting on the curb beside his car a few minutes from the highway. My brother got right to work, swearing as he accidentally stripped a lug nut. Knowing that there would be no way he could fix it, his girlfriend and I took it upon ourselves to flag down the tow truck driver a few streets away. And by flag down I mean walk ten minutes across a busy intersection, me in my slippers and her in her white converse.
Fast forward 30 minutes and we’re leaning on the hood of my brother’s Miata with a coffee in hand sitting in front of Veer Preet’s auto repair on Dixon Road. With nothing to do but wait, we watched the planes land and take off from opposite directions. The sky was a ombre blue with tinges of golden honey and pink lemonade. A plane flew overhead making me feel incredibly small and vulnerable. As it landed, the wind from the engine nearly blew me over but I held my ground. Feet firmly planted, eyes facing forward.
For the first time in a while I felt steady and strong. It may have been the conversation I had with my friend earlier that day about how much pressure I put on myself. A conversation that reminded me to slow down and stop with all of the expectaitons. Or it could have been this little unplanned evening that took me to a busy mechanic shop where so much was happening, but no one seemed to know what was going on, either way I felt glad.
Glad for that moment of solitude. Glad for a moment where all the pressure I felt disappeared. Thankful for that brief moment of bliss and hope.
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon