Friday, November 17, 2017

never hit a prius with your emotions

Yesterday, when the woman in the Prius in front of me got a huge gap in traffic and pulled forward to turn right, I (stupidly) took my foot off the brake and looked left to make sure-for-sure that it was clear and then the woman decided to panic and hit her brakes and I... BOOP... lightly tapped the back of her car with the front of mine. Barely touched that Prius, but still.

It happens.

Mistakes are made.

By me.

Because there seemed to be no damage, I suggested we get out of traffic and pull into the next neighborhood over. We did and she agreed that there was no damage but wanted my insurance information, anyway. And since I was feeling pressured to get my son and his cousin to their drama class and not thinking clearly, I let her take a picture of my insurance card. Actually, I helped her take it, because she couldn't get her phone to focus.

I did this without asking her to take a picture of her bumper and send it to me (I have no smartphone), and without writing out what happened and getting her to sign off on it. When I was about five minutes away I realized that I should not have done this and that I am now at the mercy of another person's good character which, in this litigious and dissociated culture is, let's face it, a pretty poor bet.

This got me dwelling on how powerless I am as a low-income American, and how it sucks to live my life on like forty bucks a day here, where one unscrupulous, unmerciful person can potentially threaten my financial viability.

Then I got to thinking about how it sucks that the only thing in life I seem to be really good at is Art-making, which is a pretty ludicrous career to aspire to, and how I'm probably delusional because here I am eight years after getting all gung-ho about writing professionally and my book sales are at best a trickle and my paid screenwriting gigs are spread widely enough that I have to dust some guys' endangered-species trophies to stay alive.

That's when  I started to really deep-dive the rabbit-hole of despair.

At home I vented to my wife and she wisely told me the time had come to"Stop Wallowing in Self Pity." She was right, but the problem was that then I got to thinking about how amazingly great I've actually had things, and how A. If this is how I handle the possibility of somebody screwing-me-over-financially-for-fun-and-profit, then how am I going to handle it when something actually does go significantly wrong? and also B. what kind of a self-absorbed, oblivious monster whines about a not-even-fender-bender when there's so much actual suffering in the world and also a yellow-haired Jr. High Bully with his fingers twitching over a big, red "Launch Nukes Now" button?

This train of thought sent me to bed, with water leaking out my eye-holes.

But in the cold light of today it becomes clear that the point is not what a wreck I am, but that everyone—even extremely well-centered, articulate, beautifully-coiffed writers such as myself, who has his health and an amazingly supportive family—has their moments.

So I should stop looking at what isn't and instead look at what is. 

I should be in this great moment, now, and in this great moment I should look around at people who maybe bumped a Prius all the way, today, or perhaps don't have tasty lasagna waiting for them for lunch, or possibly don't feel safe and cared for in the comfort of their snug, weatherproof home. 

Look around. See... and then help.


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