The woman who left a scrubby note on my windshield in mid-February has been delightful in email.
Not only did she own up to bumping my car and causing some damage, she is willing to write a check for its repair. I find myself wanting to meet this woman because I need to put a face to the person who is so remarkable.
Except, why is it so surprising to find a person like this? Who does the right thing, even when I would never have known?
Yesterday, the mechanic told me the repairs will cost nearly $300 less than originally estimated. So I emailed Mala and sent her the invoice. “If you’ve already sent a check, I will happily mail you a check reimbursing the extra amount,” I wrote. “If not, please send only this amount.”
“No problem, Lynne,” she said. “I just returned from travels and will send the check tomorrow.”
Easy as pie.
In the past two weeks, I’ve had one car problem after another. My not-quite-year-old leased car first was bumped by Mala, then drove over some potholed problem in a decaying city and ended up with damage to the left side doors. All cosmetic problems, so I waited to get it done.
And then, as I went to drive, I found the vehicle puttering, failing to catch in gear, barely moving forward. Was I in neutral? No. I panicked, put it in park, then went to drive again and still no catch. After a while, it did catch and I was on my way, but it kept happening with increasing frequency.
Turns out it was the transmission, after only 15,000 miles.
I was sure it had to do with my pothole surfing, and I’d be on the hook for the bill, but fate threw me a gift. It’s a system failure, and so completely covered under warranty.
Which has me driving a red Ford Taurus, which the kids have dubbed an old lady car, and as I cruised along toward my home one day last week, the phone rang. I clicked the bluetooth and the voice of the Ford repairman came on. We began to chat, when I realized that red and blue lights were flashing behind me.
The police officer I whizzed past without regard for how fast I was driving.
Because I was talking.
Which shows me I can’t do more than one thing at a time if I am to do them well.
The officer pulled me over and I admitted that I knew I was speeding. Yes, it was my fault. No trying to weasel my way out of this one. I had to be honest. I had to be clean. I had to be straight, own my part in the problem.
Which is all too rare in our society.
I explained to him that the call came in, though not on a hand-held, and that’s why I didn’t realize how fast I was going.
“It’s not holding the phone that is the distraction,” the officer said. “It’s the conversation.”
I know it sounds simple, but it hadn’t been to me. Suddenly it was so clear. “You’re right,” I told him. “I didn’t realize. Thank you so much for stopping me.”
He did not give me a ticket, but wished me well and sent me on my way with caution. And I kept to the 40 miles per hour speed limit for the remainder of that road.
Because it didn’t hurt me to abide by the posted speed. It didn’t hurt anyone.
Nor did it hurt me to admit that I was in the wrong, and take whatever punishment came my way. The officer was generous that day, but I don’t regret telling the truth. I learned something. I realized I cannot do multiple things while trying to operate a moving vehicle if I am to be safe.
Such simple truths.
I may never meet Mala, but I so admire her courage. I didn’t even notice the scratch on the back bumper until her note brought it to my attention.
I admire that she answers my emails, that she is sending a check. I must admit, I didn’t expect her to. I had very low hopes for a positive outcome.
Perhaps she believes in the laws of karma, that what you put out there comes back to you in equal measure. When you are a bitch, you’re treated as such. When you are kind and generous, the same comes to you.
It’s so simple. I’m not quite sure why more people don’t see it.
What you dish out comes back to you. We get one chance at this life – why not make it spectacular?
Two years ago today, I was flying home across the world from India, after two weeks of spiritual uplifting and immersion in a world so different from my own. A world where karma reigns over personal interactions and transactions.
When I touched down in the Delhi airport, I learned of the flight that had gone down over the Indian Ocean. I had two flights left before I reached home, to walk into the door of my house and hug my family. Would I make it?
Today, a piece of debris washed up on two shores. It’s being examined by authorities.
If we are all connected, if we are all the same, then a piece of us went down with those people, and a piece of them lives in us.
Do you believe in this theory? That ultimately, we are all connected, we are all one?
If so, then how can you keep from immersing in kindness, every day, every minute?