chewingShanti Nagel

Two Steps Forward, One Leap Back

chewingShanti Nagel
Two Steps Forward,   One Leap Back

Well it is the middle of January, cold, cold, cold and I have been trying to figure out how to introduce myself to you. Do I tell you the story of my life? Naa, I’ve lived too long and I don’t want to bore you. Do I say that I was born in Oklahoma  (yahoo!) but grew up in Upstate NY (brrr). That I finished High school in 3 years so I could get the hell out of my provincial hometown fast. That I came back to settle into an old farmhouse in that self same town and I have not budged in more than thirty years. Talk about provincial.  Do I describe children, now grown, or grandkids still growing? Do I list the pros and cons of ageing … or spare you those lies? Do I tell you about my fledgling art projects and hope you are sensitive to the fact that I am easily discouraged by the sightings of real talent out there. Or how about some wise advice.. like  eat breakfast and don’t forget to laugh… no not at your partner when he is trying to tell you something serious.

Instead of all that I just want to tell you what happened today. This is where the inching comes in. You see you might have missed that this is not about wisdom per se but merely ( or maybe grandly) creeping, scrabbling, fumbling towards it. So keeping that in mind, a simple task was planned for this January morning. I had arranged for our old Honda’s windshield to be replaced. A teeny circle of a ding had gradually grown into a long creeping crack. Do you know those windshield guys come right to your house now? So I was home… waiting. The technician… let’s just call him Ralph, called at 8 to tell me he would call me back with the ETA. At 9:30 I called him since my niece was waiting to use the car to get to work. He has one more job and then he is coming, he assures me. One hour later he calls me to ask how to put my address in his GPS. It doesn’t always work out here, I tell him. He proceeds to fall apart – if it isn’t in his GPS he can’t find it. I keep giving him directions – it is quite simple – – and he keeps suggesting a different way to put it in his GPS. Damn if this doesn’t prove my husband’s theory that smart phones make people stupid. Fast forward another 45 minutes and he has arrived and gets to work.

Oops, I forgot to set the scene: Following a week of sub artic weather it is pouring rain and our long curving driveway has turned into a beautiful translucent river of ice. (can you see the foreshadowing here?). After removing the cracked windshield from our little Honda that is parked cozily in the garage, Ralph goes back to root around in the van. Just as he steps away the van begins a not so slow slide down the driveway, sweetly stopping inches from the ditch now functioning as a raging river. We hold our breath as the van glides to a halt and a half dozen tools and one large windshield come sliding out the wide-open back to crash upon the aforementioned ice.

Now Ralph has 6 windshields in that van, but wouldn’t you know it, the one that shattered… that one was ours. So I am now without a windshield and without a car and the driveway is still with ice. But you do, I hope, agree, it could be worse. No falls, no lawsuits, no vans sailing downriver and thanks to the wonders of modern laminated windshields, no shards of glass spewed across our driveway.

You see, most of us really are inching towards wisdom but some days it seems that we practically leap in the utterly wrong direction. Maybe next time we will figure out what this blog is about.