Today I blew a gasket. Literally.
Let me roll back the clock a bit. I started my morning reading Day 2 of Gabrielle Berstein’s May Cause Miracles. The lesson? Become willing.
The Universe gave me plenty of opportunity today.
A strange oily burn came up through the vents of my Subie a couple of days ago, but I passed it off as built-up schmutz in my brakes from the horrific cold and snowstorms. Even a Subie — the perfect car for New England — groans on a -10 morning. But I’m intuitive even when it come to my car and kept my sensors up. I never let any mechanical issue slide because in Vermont, life gets very difficult if you don’t have a vehicle.
My sense was that it was a gasket (not the head gasket, mind you) after I opened the hood and saw oil leaking around the engine — but still felt as if it would be quick repair. Some little crack or piping that could be easily replaced in an afternoon from my trusted, efficient mechanic.
I knew that it was more serious when he left a message at 4pm. I felt as if I had just heard from the doctor, and the news wasn’t good.
Whatever this is, I can handle it, I thought.
My mechanic was so apologetic on the phone, I thought he might cry. You have to understand: this is a guy who chats about Greek mythology, Colorado mountains and baking a perfect souffle in the same sentence as “head gasket”. I basically had to say, Just tell me how much it will cost. Don’t worry. It has to get fixed, right?
About $1500 with labor, he said. And it will take over a week. You’ll need a rental car.
Yes, I was a little stunned. Then I laughed and thought, thank God for credit cards.
He could have said $3000. It didn’t matter. The number was so ridiculous, I was already onto the next thought. My car is my car, and it’s an investment. It’s like cracking a tooth — of which I’ve done plenty in my life. You can cry over your vanity and the cost — or get the thing fixed as soon as possible.
But my mind started to scramble. Wtf, she said. No car until the week of the 20th. How are we going to do this? I knew that a rental wasn’t necessary nor could I afford it. I mainly work from home and miraculously, there is a bus (an oxymoron in Vermont) that stops nearby and goes directly into town. It may be only a few times per day, but enough if I need it.
Interestingly, it wasn’t so much going into and getting out of town. It was the supply factor. What am I going to eat? There’s no organic food in town! What if something unexpected comes up? What about cat litter? I’m never out of cat litter!
This weird sense of being cut off is very similar to how I felt during 9/11 in the City and the ’03 blackout. When my power (i.e. the ability to flee) is taken away, I go right into survival mode.
Stock the fridge. Get water. Rearrange the calendar. Get rides. Figure out how I’ll get the goddamn 40 lb. bag of cat litter pellets.
My practice with May Cause Miracles (a take on A Course in Miracles) is the willingness to observe my life and reactions without judgment, like a witness. Then be willing to alter my perspective of what is going on right now. Be willing to see it differently and “see love”.
I’m working on it. A younger me would have blown an internal gasket upon hearing this news, and pushed to find out how quickly it could be fixed. That’s not my reaction now, but I can’t say I’m thrilled about being inconvenienced. I like having my security around me — knowing where, how and when I’ll be able to get somewhere. All Geminis know that an exit strategy is required in any situation. Without a car in Vermont, the only exit strategy is to wait, be patient and know that this is temporary.
What I saw right away: a friend at Pyramid immediately offering her car so I could drive to mine and get stuff, my mechanic taking time to show me the head gasket (a very common issue in Subies over 80,000 miles) and assuring me that he’ll shift his schedule to get it fixed asap, The Chef (who is generally impossible to reach) showing up minutes later, saying, “You’re usually the knight in shining armor. It’s great that I can actually return the favor.” She then drove me to the market and home, promising to help me out as much as I needed. Another friend from Chester offered to take me shopping next week. And I know many more will offer the same help.
I am incredibly blessed — and I have life in Vermont to thank for opening my eyes, and finally chilling out that perpetually blown gasket in me.
So, on the surface — I’m out $1500 and without a car for 10 days (hopefully less — hey, I’m all about miracles these days). No biggie. Really. I have plenty of groceries (even though the Chef was aghast at my refrigerator, but it’s fun to see her reaction), a wireless signal and a soft bed. My health, yoga mat and a warmer week ahead. I have a mechanic who I implicitly trust with my car, even though it would be much quicker — and more expensive — having it fixed at a dealer. I know that $1500 will go to his mortgage, karate lessons for his kids and maybe ingredients for the perfect souffle that will make his wife swoon.
I’m willing to see things differently. I’m willing to see love.
Let’s see how I do by day 5.