Reflections on incidents from my childhood in which I felt my father behaved irrationally blaze into my thoughts at times when my own “perfect day” plan goes awry or is interrupted by the unforeseen incident. My dad seemed to succumb to these behaviors while driving, looking for a parking space, or any time he felt he was being ignored. Times of irrational responses or thoughts have plagued me over the years. I suppose everyone gets there when pushed enough or when detoured from those important tasks we hold as precious.
After a tire blowout on the freeway in the rain while driving 65 yesterday, I looked again at yet one more chance to decide between rational or crazy behavior. I maneuvered the car across the freeway, off the exit ramp, then into a quiet Episcopal church’s parking lot. The church bells tolled noon as I came to a hub-grinding stop. My parking place was situated beneath a few lovely spruce trees. A very mild mist met my face as I stepped out to survey the damage. The shredded tire was blown to smithereens.
Still having nearly two hours to go before needing to pick up my sister-in-law at the airport allowed me to think clearly. The tow service promised to be right over, The doughnut tire in my trunk held sufficient air. All appeared truly fine. No one had died. The church peacefully promised comfort if required. I asked my wife to call the nearest tire store franchise where the tire was purchased. They should be able to hook me up with a replacement then send me on my way.
However, the return call from my wife let me know that the store only twenty minutes from my location could not see me. Their bays were full. I could not receive service. My response to this became the question of the day. You see, time is huge for me. My schedule is important. Being late for my sister-in-law was unthinkable. Driving a doughnut to the airport–another twenty miles–then back home, fifty miles was ridiculous. Obviously, it was the tire store’s fault. How dare they be too busy to help me instantly? My blood pressure headed north.
“I know” I said to myself. “I’ll drive over to the tire store where they are too busy. The waiting room must be full of customers buying tires. When I arrive, I’ll carry this shredded tire into the waiting room declaring, ‘I hope none of you are buying one of these. This company almost killed me.'”
Picturing the scene made me smirk with warm indignation. “Ha, one of those customers was sure to leave, take their car, and open a space for me. I would win–a new tire and on time to the airport.”
After playing out the satisfaction of this coup, I thought of something else. First I considered my father. Doing what I was considering would merely prove that which I disliked about my dad, was resident in me. Then, I thought of George Banks, the Steve Martin character from Father of the Bride. The grocery store scene came to mind when he goes nuts over the packaging of a dozen hot dog buns. His irrationality lands him in jail. Mine would be equally absurd.
Now, I laughed at myself.
The epilogue is that I picked up my sister-in-law on time. We drove home on the doughnut at 50 mph. Not a few freeway drivers expressed umbrage at my slow speed. The drive home took extra time, but I had the opportunity to talk with this wonderful sister-in-law who is truly a blessing in my life. I heard church bells, saw glorious trees, and enjoyed the fact that this time irrationality had not won the day.