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Of Broken Down Cadillacs & Stolen Water
A divine attitude adjustment was needed, and I am grateful for the lesson...
Hello everyone :). I apologize for not posting last week. With the new position, my work-life balance has been out of whack for the past few weeks. I am reclaiming that balance now that everything is settling out. It’s all good, and I am back to posting. I appreciate your patience.
Last weekend I had enough—car emergency after car emergency. Because my husband is a handyman and great with cars, he usually does all the repair work on mine. Thank you, my love.
For perspective, I still have no idea how to check the coolant level in Katy the Classy Classic Cadillac. Katy is an older gal and apparently runs hot from time to time.
But last Sunday, I was considering parting ways with Katy. Enough! I was beyond my patience level and grumpy.
Over the past month, Dan had to do these repairs on the front brakes:
Replace the driver’s side brakes because they made scary grinding noises.
That didn’t stop the grinding, so after more investigation, he also changed out the passenger side brakes.
Which also didn’t stop the grinding. Upon more investigation, he replaced the driver’s side caliper (still not sure how that works, but he did it).
The grinding got worse, and to top it off, the wheels would seize up every third or fourth time I tested the brakes around the loop we live on.
This time Dan got under the car and determined we needed a new passenger side caliper AND a rotor. Rotors are NOT cheap y’all. While I love Dan, my frustration manifested visibly through my body language.
After a week of not having a car, I finally got it back and went on a quick errand and … nearly dead battery. I barely made it to where we got it at the Super Walmart to get it swapped out. It was under warranty.
I glared at Katy, the CCC, and she just gave me the silent treatment. You know, because cars can’t talk and whatever.
Even knowing that the battery wouldn’t cost anything and the brakes were finally working without grinding the hell out of whatever they were grinding the hell out of, I was in a sore mood. Dan had worked his ass off to get this running, and now the stupid battery failed. While waiting to get the battery swapped out, I went inside the sandwich shop at the front of the Super Walmart where we got the battery. I wasn’t mean to the cashier but I was not my talkative or at least smiling self.
I quickly ordered my sandwich, grabbed my cup from the counter, and went to the soda machine. I stood behind this woman, who did not smell good… at all. She was frantic. And as I was registering in my head, “Seriously, Universe, help this woman to find a way not to stink…” and then I noticed the reason for her rushed movements. She was feverishly trying to fill three empty Gatorade bottles with ice and water.
My perspective completely changed. And while the stench would not be ignored, she became an actual person in my mind instead of another frustration. I was homeless, broke, and stinky briefly in my late teens. I have no idea what this lady’s experience is; I won’t assume she is homeless, even though that could be highly probable in that area. Yet, I know what it is like to be desperate enough for food and water to steal food and a Coke from a convenience store. I did that a few times during that desperate window of time. After the heists, I would head back to the car I was living in and cry as I consumed whatever I stole.
She turned around and said, “I am so sorry… please don’t tell them…” Did she get in trouble for doing that before? If so, that is ridiculous; no one should ever have to be worried about getting water, for God’s sake.
I replied, “Don’t apologize. No need for it, and I got you,” I shuffled between her and the line around the cashier’s counter. She whispered, “Thank you,” and I gently nodded. She put the bottles in her bag and quickly left. When I got my sandwich, I looked for her to give her half, but she was long gone.
Later while driving the now happy Katy the Classy Classic Cadillac home with no grinding noises and fully charged. I thought how ungrateful it was to be so upset about car problems. I have a good job, a loving husband and daughter, and the means to fix the car. But there I was, acting like a put-out, judgmental, ungrateful little sh*t until the Universe reminded me that I am no different than this lady. Different in our life’s circumstances, yes. Different in being worthy of dignity, understanding, and compassion? No.
Also, during that drive, I mentally went through all the reasons I had to be grateful that I could think of at that moment. I pray that this woman, regardless of her circumstance (whatever that may be), will find joy, and contentment, feel safe, and have her needs met at every turn.
I didn’t even know I needed an attitude adjustment. The Divine knew, delivered it, and I am grateful.
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