Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Silver Lining Gift

Occasionally there are days when I think, "OMG, the universe is so much smarter than me."

But then I have days like today. And I think, "OMG, universe, you are a giant douche-sock and I don't understand you."

To explain, let me give you a timeline. See if this means anything to you:

6:42 am: I am awake three minutes before my alarm after also being awake intermittently for the past five hours. I am recently terrible at sleeping.

7:09 am: I leave the house to walk to yoga, planning to walk by my car on the way and make sure it does not have a boot. I have gotten two tickets in the past three weeks and am getting paranoid. The last one was on Monday because my battery died on a street for which I'm not zoned. Seriously - I couldn't move it. It was stuck.

7:12 am: I pass by my car which is miraculously ticket and boot-free. It is however parked on the side of the street that intends to have street cleaning in exactly 1.75 hours. I think, "Perfect - it is great that I decided to walk by because now I can move my car."

7:15 am: The battery is dead again. I am now on a countdown to get a ticket that will insure a boot placed on my car, thereby putting my various car-necessary jobs in jeopardy. Jobs, I might add, that do not pay enough to actually get the boot removed.

7:20 am: I walk to the nearby gym, thinking this is a sure-fire plan to find someone with jumper cables. I am informed this is not the case.

7:25: I have ransacked the entire contents of the glove box and my wallet. Documented oil changes from 2003 are sliding down the front passenger seat as I flip through expired warrantees. There is nothing there to tell me who to call in case of a dead battery in the face of mean city workers wielding parking tickets. In fact, there is nothing in any of these papers that even explains what the battery is or where to find it.

7:40 am: I wander aimlessly around the neighborhood looking for people getting into or out of cars to ask for help. I find one mean lady late for work and an unmarked white van. I decide against approaching the van.

7:45 am: I remember that I have car insurance that I also remembered to make a payment on this month. I am pretty sure the policy number has stayed the same even though the only card in my glove box is from four years and three addresses ago.

7:52 am: I am assured by Geico that someone will be there before street-cleaning-death-time to jump my car.

8:41 am: The extremely nice man from Wells Auto Service jump-starts my car in literally 4.7 seconds. I drive straight to AutoZone and buy a battery, which they install for me. I successfully avoid buying the two-for-one fuel injector fluid they insist I need. I am wearing yoga clothes, no makeup, my hair is falling out of the 94 bobby pins intended to keep my bangs out of my face and my hands are blue from waiting in the cold for 45 minutes. I ignore the fact that the employees are nonetheless making rude comments about me in Spanish.

9:11 am: I decide I still have time to make it to the later yoga class. I do. I also find free parking at the gym later in the day.

My immediate reaction to this day is, "Look at how well everything worked out! I luckily walked by my car at the right time, fixed the battery situation, eschewed a ticket, spent less to get the battery replaced than I would have at the dealer and even made it to yoga and found free parking. What a lucky day!"

This is my default state - the upside of things. But I am starting to wonder if that's really the truth of it. I mean I wouldn't have had to pay anything if the battery wasn't dead in the first place. The rest of this day also includes various inanity like having to fight with the doctor's office about a bill that I shouldn't have gotten in the first place from a doctor that essentially punched me in the stomach and then ignored me for 8 hours. At what point do we stop trying to find the silver lining in everything and admit that there isn't a lot to be gained from sucky stuff?

My friend L just started teaching. She is where I was seven years ago when I was wandering into oncoming traffic without looking and seething with envy at Borders employees. At that point, even "Everything's fine" me would not have handled this morning's adventure with any sort of poise. I probably would have kicked something. L is handling things much better than I did, but she is still struggling to find time for herself and feel like a competent and social adult. So I found a card that says, "WTF" in braille (mostly because they do not make "Sorry your life sucks now that you are a teacher but you don't have to be one forever" cards but also because it's funny), some Halloween Pop Rocks (because everyone in the world likes these except me - I hate them the same way I hate cotton candy), and a bottle of wine (because - just because). Tomorrow night we are going to watch Jersey Shore and I'm bringing these things with me.

So I guess, if you are me, you don't get to that point. If you are me, you try to find a gift that relates to the sucky stuff and elevates it. Something that explains why this is all ok. Why days like today make days like, "OMG universe, you are a genius," possible. Even if that is just a bottle of wine and some Pop Rocks.


  1. It's like the saying (which is to say, a saying I probably made up myself) "Every cloud has a silver lining, but it's hard to look up and see it when the rain is hitting you in the eyes."

  2. Yeah, it's hard to see anything when it's hitting you in the eyes. Also, the phrase silver lining makes me think of a silky inside of a pillow case. It never makes me think of clouds b'c you can't have an inside of a cloud...but I guess this is really what makes me an optimist: I get easily distracted. :)