Monday, June 21st, 2010
I learn more and more, that is it not so important what happens to us, as is how we handle it. Yet, I wonder how many more lessons I need. Will life continue to bring me challenges until I get it right? Will I ever get it right?
I do believe I did pretty well with this one, although it is not over yet. When my car was disabled, on the side of a dangerous curve, I was concerned, to say the least. There were a myriad of choices to make in those moments; move the car and do more damage, leave the car and get hit by another; where to put the car, who to trust. When I was told there were no cell phone service or mechanics for miles and it was almost dark, I was overwhelmed. Tears came, but only for a moment. I never panicked. I never lost my head. And by the time I was safely riding down the road toward my friend’s house, I was cheerfully chatting away, in Spanish about chocolate and Amateur Radio.
The next day there were more decisions to make and financial concern delayed the recovery of my car. In this kind of situation, one may want to know the who, how, what and why of everything, in order to make the best decisions. In this case that was immeasurably far from possible.
From childhood, I was trained to question everything. My parents grilled me continually, in order to know it all and then tell me what to do. At age eighteen, I bolted from this tyranny, unaware that I carried with me, the compulsion for control. Over the years, I learned to let it go and today I rejoice in seeing how most every circumstance comes out better on it’s own, than what I would have been able to plan or envision. Still I marvel at life’s relentless lessons.
I’m relieved to have my car back, even though it is yet to be repaired. What has transpired since, has left me at this point, with my hands thrown in the air – “Whatever!” First there was the hunt for the distributor – no hay (there is none). Then one was found in Panama City and I paid ninety dollars for it. It was to have arrived today, along with the mechanic but instead there is no distributor, just several wheels that hold the missing belts. The cost is the same and I am told that the mechanic has everything he needs to fix the car. Now it will start but he can’t keep it running. So he left for lunch.
During this whole process, control over the situation by me ( the owner of the car and the one who pays for it) has been impossible. First there is the language barrier. I do speak some Spanish. I can make my questions understood and I get about seventy five percent of the answers. It is the other twenty five percent – “What, Where is the distributor? I thought you said I needed one. He couldn’t get it in Panama City after all? But you can do without it? And it still costs me the same?” – that messes me up. Combine that with the backward, illogical way they have of doing things in Central America and that is what leads me to the “Whatever!” mode. I do believe that eventually my car will be fixed. And although my hosts are genuinely kind and gracious people, I don’t think I will be living in their guest room for the rest of my life. At some point I will get on with my trip. I like to think that day will be tomorrow, but if not, then I will think it will be tomorrow. Mañana, mañana.
At the time of this posting, my car has actually been repaired – almost. The bad news is that the mechanic told me it has been running on three cylinders for who knows how long. I definitely have to find a new mechanic back home in Puerto Viejo! Aside from that “small detail”, I had the oil and spark plugs changed, a new timing belt put in, and everything looked over. I should be ready for the second chapter of my trip tomorrow morning. We’ll see if three cylinders will make it up the mountains – or if I even dare to try.