March 17, 2014
An encounter with some really bad luck.
First off: you and I both wish this were shorter. But it is what it is. Thanks for bearing witness.
I want to tell you a story. A funny story. A story I hope you’ll find funny. A story I hope to continue to find funny.
My friend Soph and I wonder if we enjoy our foibles too much and that’s why we have so many, so consistently! As believers in the law of attraction we hold that that which we give energy to persists. And if positive energy is the most attractive energy, it would stand to reason that if we find enjoyment in our problems perhaps more will come to us.
Of course I don’t know that we really believe this but the important thing is we all have our things we attract. Our issues. Our baggage. Perhaps ME more than others (as you might be convinced of at the end of this story) but, rest assured, and I do, we all got SOMETHING. Here’s mine du jour. May your life feel a little better in comparison.
Almost a month ago, my transmission went out on my 2002 RAV4. It took the mechanic over a week to fix and it cost a buttload of money. Too much I thought, but I had my car…which I need. As you all know, I’m a single mom and I drive all over this great city for my landscaping job and I need a car. Unfortunately, after a day of having my car back I realized it was not fixed. It drove the exact same, dangerous, herky-jerky way so I took it back and in a not-great mood. The guy fixing my car loaned me his car so I would not have to rent a car again. This car.
My gangster box. Of course, I appreciate not having to rent a car but this car is not great for transporting landscaping equipment as my SUV was. But that’s not so much of an issue cause I’m pretty much not working in August. My kids are out of camp and their father is on vacation and working for the entire month so I’m on my own with the kids this month.
Now I’ve been prepping for this month of August. I knew it would be challenging. No work means no money. And being with the kids 100% means no breaks and that’s just what August is. August to me is like December without Christmas. However, my long-awaited vacation will be coming in September and the kids will be back at school. All will be well. Nothing to do but muscle through, right?
Well…then the ex drops the bomb that I would not be able to take my September vacation as things were changing at his work and he wouldn’t be able to take the time off. (This being the day before he left for his two-week vacation.) AND he would not be able to take the kids overnight as he was going to have to be at work earlier. When he dropped this bomb I had to just turn and walk away cause I was not going to let him see me cry. The god-damned pressure of being a single mom/provider/human being is so, so intense. I need that fucking vacation. I need to live my life. I need to CREATE my life. I’m beyond frustrated.
The next morning my neck goes right out. Like…OUT. The pain runs down the back of my head, through both sides of my neck and down my left shoulder. I can barely drive my kids to their physicals at the doctor that morning (the gangster box does not have power steering). Since, I simply did not have the time or money to hit the chiro I call Soph and she reads to me from Louise Hays’ book Heal Your Life and the basic affirmation is about the need to be FLEXIBLE. (no, really? ;-) The affirmation goes: “I am at peace with my life,” and I say it over and over and over and I’m reminded that morning that I am blessed with super healthy kids and a wonderful pediatric practice and in the end I heal myself. My body tells me I should probably do some yoga that night but I think I just end up drinking beer and watching The Bachelorette.
Next day, I get a letter saying my dishwasher has been recalled (It could burst into flames!) and Maytag will only refund me my money if I buy one of their high-end dishwashers. Whatever, right? Be flexible. I’m at peace with my life. So I get someone to watch the kids and I head out the next morning in my gangster box to Sears to buy a god-damn dishwasher.
Let me stop here for some juicy backstory. Since separating from my ex, I have had five car accidents and gotten four moving violations – in two and half years. Prior to that I had gotten a total of two tickets my entire life and never been at fault for an accident. Things change. So after my fourth moving violation I got this letter from the DMV.
I would like to say in my defense, that (at the writing of this letter) I had never ever CAUSED a crash. So that first sentence is just not true. I feel that’s about as far as I can defend myself however. I had a little fender bender after that and before that I totaled my car by hydroplaning and crashing into a tractor trailer on the freeway but the truck didn’t even stop so that’s hardly causing a crash.
Let me also tell you that when I went to see a psychic last year, she said that I had some trouble with cars and accidents and I said yes. And she said I had a special guardian angel that had been protecting me through many lifetimes (What up. Gerome?) and she said that I kept him very busy. I told her to tell him that I was sorry about that and so she kind of mentally went away and came back and said, “Gerome says it’s okay. You were the same way on a horse.” Funniest line uttered by a psychic ever. Anyhoo…
A few months ago I got pulled over for speeding. A whole ten miles over the speed limit. I’m a menace I tell you. Luckily it had been long enough between tickets and I could take the traffic school option. Of course you have to “pay off” the DMV to keep a point off your license so that added $150 to my $350 ticket. Yeah. Awesome.
So back to our story: I’m at Sears and I get this big run around (they want to charge me to pull a permit for installing a dishwasher?) and I leave very frustrated and without a dishwasher. As I pull out of the mall parking lot I hear sirens behind me. I pull over to let the cop pass and he yells at me to pull through the next light and pull over. No. Fucking. Way. You know, maybe I have a tail light out. I mean this isn’t even my car. Wait. I don’t even have the registration. I don’t even know my mechanic’s last name. Uh. Oh.
So the cop claims I ran a stop sign IN THE MALL PARKING LOT which is not even true and he and I argue back and forth but then I have to start explaining about the car not being mine and now it’s “let’s step out of the car.” I TOTALLY LOSE IT. Yep. I’m one of those folks standing outside her mechanic’s car, crying on the side of the road while the cops writes me a ticket and threatens to impound the car. I sign for my ticket (not an admission of guilt, I’m assured), pull my shit together and go on my way with the knowledge that I am going to have to go stand before a judge in Chatsworth and plead my case just to keep my license. Holy Shitstorm Batman.
Monday. I decide to get Molly a cell phone. Her father doesn’t tend to carry his and sometimes I’m not sure where she is when she’s with him so I like the idea of being able to contact her when I want to. And then I can cancel my home phone service which is still under the ex’s name and is inundated 10 -15 times a day by creditors. Molly’s thrilled and I’m up for a free Blackberry upgrade so we are ALL happy campers. We go back home, I spend 45 minutes on the phone using a “man’s” voice, pretending to be my ex canceling my phone service. I get the service cancelled, plug in my new phone to my computer and proceed to wipe out EVERY CONTACT I have on it. Somehow the software or whatever replaced everything on my phone with the contents of my computer address book which I only use to keep about 700 email addresses for Molly’s school and La Leche League. I jump on the internet to figure out what the hell I’d done and realize that I’ve knocked out my internet. My DSL was attached to my fucking home phone line! I have erased all my contacts and snuffed out my access to the internet in less than an hour’s time.
I really wish I could say to you that I did not have a giant, big-ass pity party for myself that began with the thought: if I had a HUSBAND to help me with this shit, none of this would be happening. Cause that’s an unfriendly road, my friends. And I don’t want to take you down it.
So Jana comes over and takes my kids so I can put out the fine china for the pity party. I go down to Verizon and they are gigantic losers and can’t help me and I just have to bear it. It’s a hassle. They are all just hassles. It’s a shit storm no doubt. But it’s not WHO I AM. It’s just crappy circumstances. That’s all.
I do finally listen that night and do yoga and meditate and read my inspirational books and get centered and make an appointment with my therapist. I hire a sitter to watch the kids all day the next day so I can go write and peace out and make things better in my life.
Sitter comes. All’s lovely. I pack up my computer and put on makeup and look forward and upward. I get in the gangster box, start the car, pull away from the curb, my phone rings, I pick it up and hear:
WRRR WRRR WRRR WRRR.
I get pulled over on my own street.
My emotional state at this point kinda plummets. I really feel like there is a good chance I am living some other kind of parallel life. Like everyone else, I saw Inception and loved it. Loved the idea of the totem a lot and in fact, walking out of the theater after seeing the movie, I found a pendant in the pocket of my jeans. It’s a pendant my friend Anne got me. I have no idea what it was doing in my pocket but I decided to make it my totem and I enjoyed rubbing it and touching it all day…communing with my totem. Keeping myself in the real world. Well I forget once again that my totem was in my jeans and I wash the totem in the jeans. I then discover the totem in the dryer…broken in two.
HOLY SHIT! That means, you realize, that for me and by the extremely realistic rules of Inception, this is all a dream?
Moral of the story: keep track of your stinkin totems.
So as soon as I realize I’m being pulled over, I turn off my phone and throw it on the floorboard. It’s total instinct. I actually have no memory of this exact moment. I’m piecing it together backwards like a police detective.
So the cop pulls me into a parking lot and walks up and says he’s citing me for talking on a “handheld device.” I mumble something. No idea what. Maybe, “okay.” What other response is there at this point. “Okay.”
I’ve really taken the path of least resistance now and have just gone numb. It’s safest. Then I realize I gotta explain about the car again and we go through all that somehow. He then asks me to sign for the ticket (…not an admission of guilt…) and I do and he stops and looks at the ticket and looks at my license and says to me, “It doesn’t look like you’ve signed the ticket the same way you signed your license.”
Now there’s a fucking handwriting quiz?
I kinda laugh and say, “I’m sorry. I’m a little upset.” (To say the least, right?) And he says, “Care to try again?” and hands me the ticket. I do try again but it’s no better and he lets me leave.
MY BAD SIGNATURE
This is the beginning of my great day?
I get my bearings. Put my license away. And where is the damn phone? And I can’t find it. Anywhere. Okay. I start the car, drive away from the scene of the crime, relax myself somewhat and stop and look again. The phone is not there. I’m on my hands and knees looking everywhere and nothing. The phone is gone. The phone without the contacts. The phone that just got me pulled over (well, I didn’t do it…) THAT FUCKING PHONE. Nevertheless, I still need the fucking phone. But it’s just not there. Totem. Breaking.
So I drive to my friend’s house who lives nearby and to whom I know I can present myself in pretty much any state and she will have me. (This is true of all my friends actually. This is pretty much how I IDENTIFY my friends.)
I knock on her door and she’s happy to see me. She claps her hands and says, “I have a PRESENT for you!” She skips off and comes back with a beautiful bud in a baggy. “Humboldt!” she exclaims. I laugh and as good as it looks, I think, I’m probably the LAST person you want to give that to…
“Follow me,” I say. “I have a story to tell you.” I take her to my car and make her help me look for the cell phone and start filling her in. Thing is, neither of us can find it. We move the seats back and forth. We empty every bag in the car. We scratch our heads and look again. My friend slides her hand down between the bottom and back of the driver’s seat and all of the sudden, she pulls out a KNIFE. A knife that has been wedged in the seat and pointed at my back the entire time I have been driving this dude’s car!
We spend the better part of five minutes laughing our asses off. We send her kids for a flashlight and find the phone immediately. Right under the seat.
This knife has been literally stabbing me in the back. So there’s that. There’s your totem. Your law of attraction. Your poison arrow. Your affirmation.
And I’m glad that knife’s no longer there. Life has been calm (i.e. regular shit storm) but I keep hearing in my head the words that came to me when I was meditating that night as an explanation of current events: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
I can translate this for myself in two ways: either I’m Spiderman (I do spend a lot of time around spiders), or my life needs to be much, much more than IPAs and The Bachelorette.
These days I feel bi-polar, caught between thoughts of suicide and the experience of transcendence. I feel close to God but mad at him. I want to be at peace with my life but I also want a peaceful life.
My friend Soph quoted our friend John Paul who said to her, “When the shit hits the fan you know you are in a sacred place.”
Guess for now, I’ll just go with that.
Bad things come in threes.