Sunday, November 28, 2010

A lemon, some tart fruit, and a change in direction

Sometimes life gives you lemons, then you make lemonade, and you drink it, and then you get rushed to the ER because the lemon was poisoned. Maybe after they've pumped your stomach can you reflect on how to better approach lemons. Throw them away. I can't turn lemons into a beverage, not when they are busy being pelted at me by an angry mob. Or maybe they are raining down on me like the frogs in the movie Magnolia. Giants lemons just pouring down on me. Sometimes that is what life feels like, a constant downpour of tart fruit.

After my car broke down and I steered it safely to the side of I-5 I sat back and reflected. I thought about a great quotation on Facebook I saw recently from my old manager: "Life isn't happening to you, life is responding to you." Holy cow, what message am I sending out there? Life has been kicking my butt. I drove home to visit family and on my trip back I am two hours from home, but breakdown and seem years away. I sat in my car looking up at the mountains surrounding Lake Shasta and pondered. Were past decisions a reflection of my current events? Sure, I could have taken better care of my car, but even the Audi dealership I took it to in Fresno told me I was fine. I had some things fixed but when that check engine light fired up, and the battery light flashed, and my engine roared, and that damn steering wheel locked I was looking down the turn at a steep drop through a gazillion beautiful Douglas Fir trees. Those trees led into a gorgeous blue ice cold Shasta Lake. That arrival would only be delayed if the car didn't first flip over and project me through the windshield into a macabre Tim Burton holiday ornament.

Instead of the absolute worst timing and fateful moment occuring, my car was steerable to the side. I was able to pull over. I sat in my car, once again, grateful. It's only a car. The damage may be severe, but they were damages I could live with. I looked up at those Douglas Firs engulfing the mountains surrounding and watched as the fog creeped over the tops of them making their images softly fade out into white. I was calm. The tow truck took an hour and a half to greet me, but I sat patiently. The rental car place did not come through and as frustration began, I settled it. I ended up holing up in a Ramada Inn off the freeway like a man on the run, but I wasn't running anymore. If this was what life has to offer, I can face it. Of course my family,  my poor parents who stressed more than me over the ordeal while they sat eating their second Thanksgiving meal, they continue to prove to me how lucky I truly am. When I called them they went to work like a high powered PR team cleaning up some A-list movie star's latest TMZ mess. They make the Wag the Dog team look like amateurs. And yet unfortunately the mess is not an event, more like my current affairs of my life. Before I could count to ten I was on their AAA policy. Before I could count to fifty they had a auto body shop to take the car mapped out. Then a rental car was ready to be picked up and when that fell through, that "on the run" special at the Ramada Inn. They did more dialing than the tea party for Bristol, or every 80's movie fan for Jennifer.

A great friend came today to pick me up. She was like an angelic vision as she pulled up her large Toyota truck. She could have topped one of those decorated Douglas Firs, just not Tim Burtons. Her positive vibes immediately washed away the subdued melancholy. I was no longer resigned to my destiny, I was optimistic it was still of my choosing. An email potentially offering me my old job, was further proof of the shift in climate. Life may respond to us. Maybe I was bringing these events upon me, but these are not major crisis's. They are minor. Good people do exist, they bail you out of hard situations with their incredible outlooks on life. Karma does exist. It has to. That or we turn those hard-pelting lemons into meringue pie with some whip cream on top, smile at the absurdity of it all, and throw them back.

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