Sunday, 23 November 2014

On The Side of the Street With Nowhere to Go

I am lost,
I am lost,
Has anybody seen me,
I am lost,
Oh nothing is forgotten,
Only left behind,
Wherever I am,
She leads me now,

Unbound by Robbie Roberston
from the album Contact from the Underworld of Redboy

I searched the sloppy streets, yellowish overhead lights beginning to flicker in the coming darkness, snow whirling around with a concrete city weighing heavily on my sloping shoulders. Eventually, I came back to where I had begun. An empty space.

While I was working in the blowing snow, my truck was stolen. I came back to an empty parking space and no amount of fretting or hoping or rubbing of a copper oil lamp was going to bring it back. Reality was beginning to set in. No matter what I hoped or wished, the truth was I was staring at an empty parking space on a cold night... nothing more and nothing less. Everything else racing around my head was fodder for another time. I either took action or crumpled in a steaming heap whining about being up to my neck in excrement. "Oh poor pitiful me!"

Screw that crap.

The phone calls began; the boss, the city, the towing company, the police, the insurance company.

The night was cold and getting colder. Everything was happening at what felt like the pace of a three toed sloth on industrial strength Prozac. Standing on the side of a street feeling lost will do that. Slow things down when you want immediate answers. It alters perspective; the lights are too bright, it's too dark, the traffic is too loud, there's no-one around. It also heightens your awareness to the truth.

I was a stranger in a strange land.

Once the phone calls were done and I was satisfied I could do all I could under the circumstances, I retreated to warm confines of a coffee shop and waited some more. There was a rental car on the way. All I needed do was be patient... not one of my more pronounced virtues in less than ideal personal conditions. It's something I work on every day... patience under duress.

We all have basic needs... things we need to get in our lives to allow us to feel safe, secure and satisfied. One of mine is freedom. (I have seven basic needs. Others may have more or less. If you wish to figure out what yours are, start here. It's where I figured mine out.) Another of my needs is connection. I had lost both.

When one of my basic needs is denied by life and the humour of the Universe saying with a wry chuckle, “Oh yeah? Watch this dude! Have we got a surprise for you!”, I can usually manage fairly well. Taking away my freedom and connection by leaving me stranded on the side of the road on a cold, snowy night with a dying cell phone while knowing almost no-one in the city and ten kilometers between me and home? Umm... patiently managing is not at the top of my list.

Still, I did find the humour in all of it.

I realised the Universe is pretty much going to give me what I ask for. Did I ask someone to take my truck? No. And I didn't ask for it not to be taken either. Did I ask to be left stranded and cold in a city where I know virtually no-one? No. Again, I didn't ask not to be. Would I have willingly asked to have a sinking feeling and have my fear of abandonment raise its head once again? No. And feelings are my issue, not the realm of the Universe.

What I did ask for didn't include being blind-sided on a cold, wintry evening. Then again, it didn't not include it either.

Yet, through all of this, I knew I was accountable for what had happened. I had chosen to park at that spot. I had left my truck there during a snow storm and continued to work. I had chosen this city. I had chosen to complete this route before another. I chose to buy a truck targeted by Ali Baba wannabes. All of the decisions I made led me to that spot at that moment. I am accountable for what happened.

Does that make it my fault? No.

Being accountable has nothing to do with fault. Nothing. It has everything to do with taking responsibility... and ultimately control... over my life. It means I will not play the victim. I am not a victim in this event. I will not go through life blaming others for whatever predicament I may find myself. If I blame them and hold on to that position, they have hooks in me and a part of me will never be free of that hook pulling me away from where I want to go... until I become accountable for me. Then, and only then, the hooks slip free.

Remember, freedom is one of my basic needs. No chance I'm giving up freedom to stay hooked into blaming someone else! Were they wrong? Maybe. And that's their burden... not mine. I ain't carrying it for them. They can carry their own frigging backpacks full of what they have done.

Of course... the Universe has its own plan for me and getting me where I say I want to go. I might not know the reason for someone taking my truck when they did. I may not know for a long time. Experience has taught me two things; what seems bad often turns out to be good, what seems good often turns out to be not as good as I hoped.

I do know this... it will all make sense when it's time for it to make sense.

I do think I should have been a little more specific when I asked for what I wanted. For instance, perhaps I might have added, “... without being left on the side of the street with nowhere to go and a dying cell phone.”