Kindness and grace: 40 in forty

Yesterday was absurd. I went to the DMV twice-it's a half-hour drive each way- and still do not have a new license. Fairly defeated upon leaving the second time, nearly four hours after arriving for the first, I decided to try and do something productive so headed to J.Crew to make a return. As I parked, I misjudged the curb and punctured my tire on its blade-like edge. 

As I sank to the ground with the front right part of my car, a man came over and said, "You know you popped your tire, right?" 

Ah, yes. I suspected as much, not least because of the whistle-whoosh the air made as it rapidly flew from the jagged hole in my sidewall.

Needless to say, I did not get to J.Crew. I did, however, learn all about sizing tires during the forty-minute wait for roadside assistance to arrive and was able to call and find a nearby bodyshop with one tire that would fit my car. 

After Vick attached my spare and put the torn tire and scratched rim in my trunk, I headed south to the Tenleytown Shell station where Jim helped me immediately and taught me a ton as he worked. I ate lunch-a crumbly granola bar for which I paid entirely too much-while I watched.

Later, I went by our old house to check on a few things, and I found this. 

People, how on earth would that catch a curtain to its right?

I later made the worst dinner in the history of the world. All in it was a wash of a day, but I was reminded of two important things that I wish to share.

40 in forty wisdom:

  • Always carry reading material with you. You NEVER know when you'll have multiple hours at a DMV, in a car with a flat tire, or in a lengthy line at the market, bus stop or anywhere really. I may have wasted four hours and still need to return to the godforsaken DMV, but I did read a few chapters of my book, and that was nice.
  • There is kindness and grace all around you. Be open to it and give it back. As I later told the boys, I could have folded inward yesterday, pissed to the nines about the time and money and energy I didn't want to spend in the ways I had to spend it.

    Or I could take the chance to learn about tire size when the first shop I called taught me how over the phone so that I didn't head their way if they didn't have what I needed. I could thank that nice man then and also when he recommended I call Shell next "because they're good."

    I could shake Vick's hand, even though he said it was too dirty, and thank him for his kindness in helping me so quickly.

    I could smile at Jim and listen as he taught me that every time someone changes my tires they should remove all the rust and sediment from the rim before putting on the new tire because otherwise, the rubber may not seal properly. ("Most people don't because they are lazy and don't care, but it's safer and better this way, so ask.") I could ask Jim how long he's been doing car work because he sure knows a lot, and I could accept his kind offer to refill my spare and check the pressure in my remaining tires. I could thank him profusely for everything and for charging me only a reasonable and fair amount and nothing more.

    I could be grateful for being able to afford this surprise car-work and that my kids were happily and safely at school instead of being lugged around with me.

And so I did and so I was.