Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Should Have Stopped For Lunch

It was a full day. I knew it was going to be a busy one. Right from the onset ...

It started off right. I got out of bed with my alarm. I went through my morning routines, made my lunch and was out the door on time to arrive for work at 8:00 a.m.

The morning went well. Microsoft Word and I were not seeing eye to eye and at one point very late in the morning, I thought “I should stop for lunch now. I think I need to come back at this with a fresh eye.” I didn’t. That was a big mistake.

Things went from bad to worse. I had put together a document which I decided to ‘make pretty’ with a heading that was already formatted. Early on, I knew this formatting was causing me grief but it wasn’t until mid afternoon that I knew I had to correct this issue before the end of the day. This was my last shift to work and whatever mess I left behind would be someone else’s problem. This simply couldn’t happen.

I started to shake and the adrenaline was pumping. I finally, finally found the answer I needed (thank you Google!) and I was on my way.

I cleaned up my document, printed off a copy, saved it on my personal drive, copied it to a USB stick and emailed it to my co-workers. I left nothing to chance.

I walked out of the door and knew that I had done my best. But my heart was still racing. I practiced deep breathing techniques all the way home. I bought myself a coffee to force myself to sit still and collect myself before I carried on with Part 2 of the day.

I got home with half an hour to spare.

I was meeting up with friends to go to an out-of-town dinner and play. I suggested that I drive (my motion sickness has really kicked into high gear since a bout of sea sickness on my Alaskan cruise), so that I wouldn’t have to contend with impending nausea.  

I tidied up the car, filled it up with gas and My Son changed the oil and checked all my fluid levels. I was ready for anything. Anything but rain that is …

The last time that I took the car out on the highway, I came home in a rainstorm. My windshield wiper barely made it home. I asked My Son to have a look at it. He snapped it into place and that was that. Then … I went out in the rain again and my wiper almost came off again. I knew what to do, so I snapped it back into place. And I haven’t driven in the rain since.

Need I say more? Here I was with three friends who entrusted me with their lives. I was driving them to a town 45 minutes away and we ran into intermittent showers. I turned on the wipers and held my breath. Please stay intact! Please work! Please stop raining!

But it didn’t. So I had to stop and snap it back into place. Four times. On a highway with cars driving by at 110+ km per hour. I had visions of being pegged off by a passing car and flying off into the sunset . And to think that I had wasted my last day on earth fighting with Microsoft Word ….

Somehow in the midst of being afraid for my life and the safety of my passengers, with the added distraction of the dangling windshield wiper … all four of us missed the turn off to the town we were driving to. This is a large town! It is well marked. I have no idea how I missed it because I was quite literally praying to get there in one piece and my eyes were honed in and watching for that green highway signs that are well posted along the highway.

I know this highway well. I recognized the landmarks that told me we were moments away. But I missed the signs!! I quietly wondered aloud if I had missed the turn. My passengers laughingly replied, “Well if we hit Duck Lake, we have gone too far.”

A little while later we saw signs of civilization on the horizon. Billboards galore and I was almost positive one of them said “Duck Lake”. Sure enough. We overshot our destination.

It was raining (again) and my wiper blade was hanging on by a thread. I refused to drive any further until I got my wiper blade fixed. Thankfully, we came upon a service station where the gentlemen jimmied up something that they were ‘almost sure’ would work.

So we headed back to our original destination on a wing and a prayer and (eventually … we overshot our destination once again and took the long way around and back into town) arrived half an hour later than our original plan (yes Mom, I know this is why you leave for your destinations an hour early!).  

We actually arrived at a perfect time and we had just the right amount of time for our supper, dessert and coffee before the play started. The evening went perfectly once we finally got there.

Wouldn’t you know it. It never rained again. So I didn’t get to test my wiper. I had my hands clenched on the steering wheel as I prayed “please don’t let me get a flat tire” most of the way home.

Never have I been happier to drive up onto our driveway and usher my passengers safely to their vehicles.

We have plans to go out again next week. I offered to drive. Their reply? “That’s okay … we can walk”.

As I sit back and write this, I can laugh. But at several points throughout this little misadventure, I saw my life pass before me. You often hear of people getting killed on the highway when they are stopped on the side of the road. And how had I spent my last day? Stressing out over a Word Document at work.

And why was I having such a struggle with such a ‘simple’ concept? Because I didn’t stop and take a break.

I am quite certain that if I had stopped and had lunch, things could have turned out very differently.

Stop and breathe. Take your allotted rest periods. What if this was your last day of life-as-you-know-it? Would you be satisfied with the way that you spent it?

No comments:

Post a Comment