despite the fact i’m a very calm person on a day to day basis, i’m the one who comes unglued in an emergency situation. maybe that’s one of the reasons i love katniss from HUNGER GAMES or katsa from THE GRACELING. they’re both super strong, lead the way, take charge kind of gals. they rise during an emergency while i? i slink behind the nearest tree.
except for sunday. my friend C was in town this weekend for a conference. the conference was in providence, but due to its proximity to boston (and her 3 friends who live up here), she opted for the free hotel room, aka my apartment. she called on sunday to let me know she was heading back from the conference. when she called again not even 15 minutes later, i jokingly answered the phone “leave a message at the beep.”
i flung the silliness aside when her voice, near tears, said, “my car is smoking and i’m pulled over on the side of the road.”
and then, i spewed every calm and rational thought i had/could have had about what to do when you and your car are broken on the side of the road. because i had to. because she was freaking out. because i wasn’t allowed to. because two girls freaking out is about an constructive as eating soup with a fork. after she calmed down and after i promised to come get her if need be, we hung up since there wasn’t much else for me to do/say while she waited for the AAA tow truck to come and tow and assess the damage. plus, i’m sure she wanted to call her dad (or BF) for more soothing thoughts on what to do when it looks like your car has suddenly developed a smoking habit.
she called back 10 minutes later to say that yes, her car was kaput and she needed me to come get her. i got some vague directions from her (via the tow truck guy) that i should take 95 to this exit to 2 lights to a left turn to look for the mobil station. i was 100 % calm as i said “sure thing. i’m leaving now. sit tight.” i hung up the phone, took a deep breath, my towel fell and i properly freaked out (what? i had just gotten out of the shower) about how i was supposed to get to her. i scrambled into some clothes, swiped on mascara, and called another friend to confirm that to get to 95, i have to take 93 first.
i hop in my car, eye the 1/4 full tank of gas and begin the battle with Rudy*, my GPS. i had the directions from the tow truck guy which, albeit a bit vague, seemed easy. except for the part where i didn’t know how to get there (95) from here (my apartment). i didn’t have an address for where C was, except that it’s a mobil station in between boston and providence. Rudy wanted me to go this way and then recalculating and then take take exit and then recalculating about 53 times. i only had a wisp of a notion of where 93 and 95 met up, but i suspected those highways were my best bet rather than the circular side streets the GPS wanted me to take. and then began the battle with myself. hello?! i have a GPS, follow it. but really? can i trust Rudy? or should i trust mr. tow truck? i decided to go for the latter even though it meant i had to listen to “recalculating” every 5 minutes.
did i mention my car was basically on fumes at that point? this is really rare for me because i’m paranoid about running out of gas. if my car is under 1/2 full, i fill it. i don’t drive that much and with both coaching and playing lacrosse seasons over, i’ve been driving even less. the last time i was in the car, i was only going .5 miles down the road to pick up heavy groceries and thought, hmm, i should fill up. “next time” i thought. and you see? see what happens when i procrastinate?
i have to don my savior cape and rescue C.
what a nightmare that would have been if i had run out of gas. and i had to say to my tow guy, “could you drag me to the mobil off route 160? cause that’s where my friend is and i need to get her.” a classic comedy of errors that was narrowly avoided. *phew*
but what’s my point about all of this? (besides reinforcing to myself that i should never, ever, ever procrastinate again). my point is that when i HAD to be calm, cool, collected, i was. i was still able to freak out (after talking to C and before driving to get her) because she wasn’t able to see that (well, except for when i told her). which translates to my next writing project. i’ve been so scared to start it because, well, i don’t know where to start. i don’t have a plot. i don’t have a firm character in mind. i’ve been frozen. hiding in the bushes. like i usually do when emergencies come calling. but sunday’s adventures showed me that i can do it. i can find 95 without the help of Rudy. i can be calm enough to convince C that everything is going to be alright. because it is. and that’s this next project will go because i’m the only one who can write it. i need to stop being scared and start driving, err, writing.
another lesson learned during all this? it’s really nice to be able to call your mom and/or dad and say “help. what do i do?” and let them do their mom/dad thing and hug you through the phone. because as grown up as we have to be sometimes, there’s still nothing better than allowing yourself a moment of adolescent wallowing to mom/dad when the adult world is too scary to deal with.
*why’s my GPS called Rudy? that’s thanks to my roommate. during one long, delirious drive, she starting laughing to herself. in between giggles she asked if i had named my GPS. i said no. she pointed to it and said you should call her Rudy because she gives you the ROUTE. (so technically, the spelling should be ROUTEY). and that’s that.