and last Monday was no exception.
My mornings are all about ritual, moving slowly and balance. Last Monday was mostly like that. While I was watching Ellen I forgot that I was boiling an egg and let all the water boil out of the pot. I salvaged the pot so no real harm was done. Then I left the house and things went a bit more haywire.
I was ten minutes past my I-absolutely-have-to-leave-the-house-by-this-time time so I knew I was going to be a late for work. I hate being late - somewhere in my childhood it got burned onto my brain that it is disrespectful to keep people waiting - so I always, always, always strive to be on time. (My parents and my brother would laugh at this. Keep in mind that they expect me to be places in the morning - mornings have entirely different rules for the always cranky in the morning, mka. I'd also like it on the record that I arrived precisely on time for Christmas breakfast this year.)
Back to last Monday. As I opened Meredith's driver door I remembered that it was soon going to be time to feed her. Drat! I didn't have time to stop by Dad's store and fill up. My normal routine is to wait until the little orange light comes on before refueling. The light wasn't on but it was gonna be soon and I had a 45 minute drive ahead of me. (I am very picky about who I give my money to so I try to hit indie gas stations whenever possible.) I decided to chance it.
Before I got through the back alley I noticed a strange scraping noise so I put Meredith in park and jumped out to investigate. There was a rather long and skinny piece of tree limb protuding from Meredith's underneath area. I bent over and started tugging. The limb was not moving. So I got on my knees, started pulling again and coughing - I hadn't realized that my face was right in front of the exhaust pipe, nasty! I moved my head and was able to get the limb loose. I congratulated myself on not getting worked up. Victory #1.
I was having a happy time in the car, singing along to a cd that my friend, Ruth, sent me. Everything was good. I was talking to myself. School is over for the semester, we're not going to have any patrons, we've got two or three students working today, and anyway it's library work not brain surgery no one is going to die if I am 10 minutes late so lighten up, missy. And that's when I saw the traffic jam. I rarely encounter traffic problems on my lunchtime commute so this was a bit of a surprise. It was time to chat with me again. You are not allowed to freak out. This is not a big deal. You're 30 minutes into this commute and the little orange light has not come on. Everything is fine. Cue little orange light. Okay, so the light is on, you still have plenty of gas in the car. What if you have to sit here forever and you do run out of gas? Well you'll just get the car off the road. There are tons of people stuck here someone would help you. Thanks to ex-boyfriend you have one of those red plastic gas cans in the trunk. You'll just get some gas. No worries here. Guess what? I really believed all that stuff that I said. Victory #2.
I continued listening to Ruth's cd. I really was enjoying myself. There was even some car dancing. Now that the being late part was out of my control I was okay with it. I called the Music LIbrary and let my co-workers know that I was stuck in traffic. More car dancing and singing. I noticed the folks in the truck in front of me throwing their arms up in the air. I was hoping that my car dancing was making some people smile (not laugh at me, mind you). We moved ahead a bit and I was happy to see that the truck with the flying arms people stayed still and let some cars out from the private school parking lot. Now we were really moving. Wahoo! As I drove past the girl holding the slow sign I smiled. She was sitting on an orange cone, swinging her legs and having a snack. She looked like she was having a great time, not letting the stress of the cranky drivers get to her at all. I looked down and saw the little orange light go off. I had plenty of gas left to get to work. (And I didn't let myself get pissed off that the reason for the traffic jam was the construction of ANOTHER shopping center with ANOTHER huge-ass Harris Teeter in it. I mean how many Taj Mateeters does Greensboro need... Really, I wasn't pissed off about it that day.) Victories #3, #4 and #5 at least.
Some days it's hard to see them, but the tiny victories are always there. We just have to remember to look.