Last Sunday night, I made a last minute decision to go to jazz. I had worked all weekend and had a vehicle at my disposal, I thought it was a good finish line to cross.
New cars have so much going on in their complicated digital dashboard display. I’m a simple man and somehow managed to get by for years with just an analog speedometer and a gas gauge. Now I don’t always know what to look at or pay attention to. I didn’t realize in the 21st century that I needed to know the temperature of my transmission fluid, and the optimum fuel usage while I’m going uphill backward.
About mile marker 420, a warning popped up on the center of the display indicating that the left rear tire was low. Assuming I could ignore it, the air pressure meter kept ticking downward, going from 30 PSI to zero in a matter of seconds. There was no way I could keep going. I now had a problem to deal with.
Providentially, there was a rest stop I pulled into and started digging into the rear compartment to find the spare. It was a complicated assembly, because the subwoofer was bolted onto the interim rubber donut, but at least it came out in a straightforward fashion. The jack was in a logical place and not under the hood or front seat. It was about a 15 minute delay and I was back on the road to sit with LeRoy and the crew for the second set.
The flat was an unwanted, unwelcome disruption. Pulling over on the side of the interstate in the freezing cold is never a choice I would make. This much is obvious.
Like it or not, I had to deal with it or I wasn’t going anywhere.
I’ve had my share of flat tires along the way. Some occurred in my driveway where they were easy to change. I’ve only had one blowout in my life, which was scary and unsettling. There was a time the lug nuts were frozen onto the wheel and I had to call AAA. But in every case, the process was the same:
- The disruption required attention. The flat wasn’t going away by ignoring it.
- The attention required action. Being aware of the problem wasn’t enough. I had to get out and do something about it.
- The action allowed continuation. Taking time to address the disruption put me back on the road and this is where I ultimately want to go.
I write regularly about my work in grief therapy and recovery. My process began three years ago with a major disruption, the death of my wife of nearly 30 years. Little did I know how that disruption would lead me to discover more unsettling truths that would require further action on my part. I had to start paying attention.
I know some people process difficult life circumstances differently than I do, but I know I am one who needs the guidance of an experienced soul to help me pay attention to matters I’d rather ignore. And since I’m not paying the therapist fee just so I can keep going back to the office and talking, I’m looking for ways I can take action.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but sometimes the action needed is simple.
And simple doesn’t equate to easy. Like changing the flat, the steps are straightforward and haven’t changed that much since I was a kid with my dad teaching me how to use a bumper jack to raise the old farm truck. The lug wrench and lug nuts still function the same. The opposite tires still need to be chocked. But the tire isn’t going to change itself.
I had to take action.
So why change the tire? Why bother? Why not wait for someone else to come and take care of it?
I did it because I wanted to get to a better place. I didn’t want to stay stuck.
I want to move forward.