Have you ever heard of Bizarro Land? Anyone with children certainly has been there, perhaps by another name.
A week ago, I spent much of my day there.
In the morning, deciding to treat myself to donuts, I threw my long raincoat on over my cute little jammies and headed out. I hadn't even brushed my teeth.
On the way, I accidentally - really! It was a confusing intersection! - ran a red light, noticing the CCTV monitor. Note to self: do not be surprised to receive an automated ticket. Followed by: this is going to be an expensive donut run. Followed by: don't worry about it, what's done is done.
I picked up my donuts and headed home. On my way, sighting a police patrol car, I instinctively put on my brakes, having no idea what the speed limit was or how fast I was going.
Sure enough, he pulled me over, politely introduced himself and explained that I was going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone. He also noticed I had an expired license tag (aka car registration, as evidenced by last year's sticker on my plate).
I was confused. Expired tags? How did this happen? How did I miss that?
Thankfully he let me off with a warning about the speeding. Then he asked for my insurance card. It too was expired.
More confused, I was blown away. Until I figured the current card was still on my desk at home.
He kindly agreed with my suggestion that I log onto my account and show proof of coverage and he went back to his squad car.
If you hadn't guessed by now, I had entered Bizarro Land.
There were website issues, but luckily, I was able to contact my auto insurance agent who promptly emailed me my current insurance card. Whew. So, no ticket for speeding, no ticket for driving without insurance.
The officer arrived window-side and I showed him proof of insurance. I then took a deep breath, looking at him with pleading eyes, asking if I promised to go straightaway to the nearby DMV to renew my tag, was it possible to not get a ticket for that bit?
He appeared a bit sad as he apologized, saying he had already written the citation for the expired tags. $110. However, if I proceeded to the DMV as promised, I could pay a reduced citation penalty at city hall.
Then he said "there's something else. You have a screw stuck in your front tire." I got out of the car in my coat covered jammies to have a look, realizing my day's plans were to be reprioritized, again. Sigh.
He was so apologetic, sharing that he really hated having to ticket me, as well as be the bearer of bad tire news.
I thanked him for his kindness, seeing that he sincerely cared about me and my plight. We parted ways, him waving, me offering my hands in Namaste.
Shaken and nervous and calm at the same time, I proceeded, in jammies and raincoat, to the DMV to renew my registration. Handing over my credit card, I reflected that I would earn frequent flyer miles (= more travel!). The agent helping me was pleasant and thoughtful, which made me feel a bit better.
I placed that coveted little 2017 sticker on my license plate as soon as I got back to the car.
A few blocks away, the friendly court clerk charged me only $55 and I earned some more frequent flyer miles. I don't think she had a clue I was wearing little jammies under that tasteful raincoat.
Back in my car, legal matters sorted, I called my car dealer to arrange an afternoon appointment to sort out the tire.
Having managed all that, I lovingly allowed myself some time to cry and feel overwhelmed and utterly sorry for myself. Once home, I crawled back to bed, ate my donuts while watching TV, then took a nap. I was in no mood or mode to work.
I dressed before leaving for the dealer - real clothes this time - where I was again treated with kindness and respect. They took out the screw, determined there was no tire damage, washed the car and sent me on my way without charging me a penny.
In my car is a little plaque that reads "There is always a reason to dance."
As is my habit, I reflected back on the day's events, asking myself "what's good about this?" I recalled the kindnesses shown me, the blessing of a wonderful car and ready service, being the owner of my own business and the scheduling flexibility that affords, not having to worry about money, the indulgence of being able to run out for a bit in pajamas without anyone knowing - something I never in my life though I would do! Not to mention learning out about a screw in my tire and avoiding – worse – a flat tire.
There is always a reason to dance. Indeed.
As importantly, I felt gratitude for friends who support me. One in particular has an open-door offer. "Call any time you're in the neighborhood and come by. We'll have a glass of wine and visit." Sure enough, I was in the neighborhood, and sure enough when I called she said "come on over!"
We made a quick trip to the grocery store together, and, preparing to pay for my few groceries, I discovered my wallet was missing. Of course. It was sitting on my dresser at home, where I'd left it when double checking my insurance card. Not normal for me to be so absent minded. Well, this was not a normal day.
My friend paid for my purchases (blessing!), and we proceeded to her house where we ended the day in friendship, love and support, sharing stories and sipping wine.
I drove home that night with deep gratitude in my heart for my blessings.
There is always a reason to dance.