Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Many Faces of Frustration

Yesterday was a very frustrating day for me. Three individuals (myself, E, and Baby m) at home, each one in a foul mood, each one within 6 inches of the other. Ya. Bedtime could not come too soon. Lately, I've been thinking about an incident in grad school, not one of my finest moments, and perhaps one of the most frustrating days in my memory.

I was given a truck to use for my graduate work...mind you, I was not well versed in the use of a 4 wheel drive vehicle, or in the use of anti-lock brakes (this was in 1993). I got the hang of the ABS, by necessity, on the roads of the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Then one December day, the little light came of those dreaded dashboard lights that sent me to the dealership in Gaylord. "Well", the mechanic told me, "it looks like your anti-lock brakes are malfunctioning. I'm going to disable them for now." My instructions were to bring the truck back to the university for repair, and I headed back to the forest.

The cabin was about 30 miles away, and I got 2/3 of the way there without incident. Then, just after I exited the highway, I hit a patch of black ice on an overpass and lost control. "Slam on the breaks, slam on the breaks!" Long-term memory overtook the short term knowledge that I had no ABS, and I spun part-way around and hit the barrier on the opposite side of the road. I was beyond lucky...there was no oncoming traffic. Some passersby helped me get the truck back in the right lane, and the only real damage was to the driver's side door and the left front quarter panel. As I finished my drive to the cabin, my blood pressure went up and up and up, as I visualized my embarrassment at delivering the damaged truck to my boss.

When I pulled in the driveway, I couldn't even get my door open. As I shuffled to the passenger side and slid out, I began to cry. I can't remember what I said to the truck, but I know it included profanity...and then I did a very stupid thing. As hard as I could, I threw the keys at the hood. In one fleeting instant, I saw them bounce off and sail away into the snow, never to be seen again. Literally. Hours later (with friend M by my side), I conceded defeat and called a locksmith. I remember it cost $70...because I did not have the money, and I had to write a check from my VISA account.

Thankfully I have grown a bit since then, but yesterday I almost threw the keys again...but what good does it do? It lowers the blood pressure temporarily, but in the end it costs you more.



My wife tells me stuff over the internet! Go blogger & FB!

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr