IT’S PART OF THE JOURNEY, I GUESS
By: Lauren Anderson
So, yesterday was a bust.
Like an epic, awful, what-else-could-go-wrong? BUST. Let me walk you through it.
I’m about to make a GIANT purchase (aka elective eye surgery) and before I go through it, I wanted to shore up some lose ends to make sure I can even afford it. I want to talk financing with a bank expert to make sure I’m getting the best deal.
For those adults out there reading that and nodding your head, like “Of course, cause that’s what you do”, let me state for the record, that this thought DID NOT naturally pop into my head. I had this idea gently suggested to me by my father.
And I admit I placated him by going “Yes, I will do that.” And he was like, “Okay, great.” And we moved on to the next thing because we both knew there was a 50/50 chance I would actually follow through.
I’m not not proud of my follow-through record in case you thought I was. I wish I learned faster and took my Dad’s advice about this adult stuff more often… but I don’t. We sometimes laugh about this and blame my “Artist Temperament”, but I don’t want to perpetuate a stereotype.
My Artist friends are some of the HARDEST WORKING PEOPLE I KNOW.
Because in order to make this kinda lifestyle work for any amount of real time– YOU HAVE TO BE.
Sometimes I’m astounded by their hustle… and simultaneously upset that my hustle doesn’t present in the same way. Cause you can BET I’m busy–it’s just not usually making sure I have the lowest APR. Ya know? Anyone else?
So in a rare turn of events– I follow through on this. And off to the bank I go.
In fact, I thought I would be VERY adult and “Take Care of Business” and knock out a full round of errands! Yes! That’s what I would do! So I would travel to a farther away bank branch with a much smaller wait time in the suburbs, so I could see someone faster.
Then, with fresh paychecks deposited, I could pay rent AND swing by the nicer DMV and pick up new tabs on the way home and knock out all the birds with one giant loop around the western ‘burbs.
AND THEN I GOT PULLED OVER. *facepalm
I wasn’t speeding. I was driving the speed limit and feeling very self-satisfied about my plan to attack all this grown up business. And then boom. Lights. Sirens burps.
The officer says, “Yeah… did you know you have no brake lights?”
“What?!” I exclaim. Cause NO. I DIDN’T KNOW THAT. Shit.
“Yeah… that’s why I pulled you over. But when I ran your plates it’s says your license is suspended.”
AND THEN MY HEART DROPPED INTO MY ASS.
“This is it,” I thought. “This is when I go to jail and they throw away the key.” He goes on.
“Yeah… you have an outstanding speeding ticket that hasn’t been paid. And as of… yesterday it looks like they temporarily suspended your license because of it.”
Yesterday? I can’t believe my luck.
OH MY GAWD. That ticket. That damn ticket that I had forgotten to pay, even though it’s been predominantly displayed on my fridge door since I got ‘said ticket’ two months ago.
You know, the door that I open like, 1,000 times a day. Ahem.
But nevertheless I persisted… in not paying it. I shoulda just paid it the day I got it! WHY DIDN’T I DO THAT?! But I was too pissed. So there it hung– MOCKING ME. And now my lack of skill at this kinda paperwork stuff was gonna get me arrested.
He asks me where I’m headed, and what I’m doing out here. I tell him I’m going to the bank literally one block away, so I can deposit money so I can go to the DMV to get new tabs. He says, “Well okay. I’ll let you drive to the bank, cause I don’t want this car on the side of the road, but you can’t drive anywhere else like this. Can you call someone to help you?”
And just when I think I might be able to get out of this, like he’s actually going to help me, he goes, “Oh and I will be issuing you a citation for driving without a license.” *facepalmX2
He said this while holding my license in his hand, btw.
I called my sister, and THANKFULLY she answers on the first ring. I explain my crisis, and she comes to the rescue. Thank god she has Mondays off, and she is the kind of person she is.
I am flabbergasted and embarrassed and PISSED off that I got pulled over. I’m even more angry that I felt like crying and wasn’t able to muster any tears in front of the cop. What kinda white woman am I if I can’t even cry in front of a cop?!?!
He comes back and gives me the ticket and a bunch of advice… get someone to take you to the DMV. You can pay your ticket there and get new tabs. And then change those brake lights. But pay the ticket first, otherwise you’ll just get pulled over again. Yadda yadda yadda.
Cut to the bank.
My business goes well, and I am able to see someone without an appointment. Without waiting. Just as I suspected. In and out. Easy peasy. I feel a small vindication, although vindication never paid anyone’s court fees.
Marnna and Lora arrive and take me to the DMV. Apparently Mondays at the end of the month are the worst days, and the wait time is long. “Expect an hour” they said. So while I’m waiting my “Hour” to get tabs, I run upstairs and pay my late fee/ old ticket. Bye bye 148 bucks! Nice knowin’ ya!
I try to pay the new ticket that I just got too– but that one is for 275 dollars!
TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS?!
My heart dropped into my butt again. Maybe for good now.
The clerks were actually quite nice if you can believe, and suggested I make an appointment so I can contest the ticket and maybe get it dropped or reduced. So I make an appointment to do that.
IN NOVEMBER. Because that’s the closest time they had. They freeze the ticket until then though, so at least I don’t have to worry about it.
But that’s another couple hours out of my day that I will have to waste doing something awful that’s gonna cost me a lot of money.
This all takes so long that my sister was like, “Sorry Laur, but we have to go.” But as we were walking out, I hear my tab number called. I ran for that number like a perosn in a Rom Com runningthrough an airport. Maybe my luck is turning around!
HAHA YOU FOOL!!!
They don’t let me get the tabs, because I don’t have my insurance policy number with me, because I took my insurance card out of my wallet to show the cop earlier when I got pulled over, and I left it on the seat in the car that I can’t drive, that is parked at the bank. *facepalmX3
There’s nothing she can do. My cheeks get hot. Tears.
REALLY ANDERSON?! Now with the tears? Because even though white lady tears might be effective on suburban cops, they are USELESS to the disgruntled DMV employee. She looks me in the eye and says, “I have to call another number…” And I just walk away. Defeated.
I start to spiral. Bad. I’m the one who sped. I’m the one who didn’t pay her ticket on time. I’m the one who didn’t notice that her brake lights were out. Or that I left my insurance card on my seat. I’m the one wasting my sister and her S.O. one day off together so they could drive me around.
This whole stupid business is MY FAULT.
Why can’t I get my shit together? Why can’t I be good at this stuff?! And then I started to spiral more. I started to think about my apartment and all the other things and projects I was behind on. Writing deadlines and lines memorized, and dishes done. The book(s) I wanna read. That book I dream of writing. The paintings I haven’t even started.
Then I started to think of my Gym life. And how I disappoint myself and my body. How I’m not making it a priority right now and it should be. How I’m letting myself backslide into old habits that don’t suit me. How I know I should just shut up and GO.
Just GO DAMMIT. You’ll feel better! But I’m injured! I whine. So I hide away and second guess and give myself excuses. Then I get mad because when I’m at the gym, that is the Lauren I want to be. That is the Lauren that I like and admire. Not this Lauren.
And now more tears.
They are stupid tears too. The angry hot embarrassed tears of a little kid not getting her way, and not having the words to express it. And these tears are even more of an example that I am failing at the business of being an adult.
Which I cringe at btw, because it feels like a phrase that you’d find scrolled on a novelty wine glass. But here we are. And I don’t know what else to call it, at this point.
As we are waiting at the light by the bank, my sister notices a service station literally across the street from where my car is parked. She goes, “Just do yourself a favor and take it there. Get it done.”
So they drop me off and I drive it there, and luckily, a guy was like, “How can I help you?” And they change my bulbs right there in the parking lot. I didn’t even need to pull into the station. As the man is changing my bulbs, I explain the day I’m having.
He laughs and commiserates with me. His laughter is helpful. Laughter is always helpful.
In the mix of all this nonsense, I forgot that it all was actually NONSENSE. I had forgotten to laugh at myself. And laugh at the absurdity of this stupid stupid day.
He goes, “Man, I wish you wouldn’t have gotten another ticket. Save that for the real criminals eh? Not the hard workers like you and me. But all this stuff, it’s all part of the journey I guess”
Then he kinda smile/winked at me. And went inside to get a part.
I smiled back and nodded my head. That kind of soothed my heart. I took a deep breath, and realized I had whipped myself up into a frenzy, over what? Logistics? Money? Sure that stuff is important. Especially when it’s scary and/or scarce.
But just because I fuck it up sometimes, doesn’t mean I’m a fuck up.
Sometimes “behind the curve” is a necessary perspective.
And taking a break doesn’t have to mean that it’s broken.
Speaking of brakes… my brake lights were fixed in no time, and it couldn’t help feel like a metaphor. Before I knew it I was sitting in my SECOND DMV that day in a crowded waiting room. I knew I had to get my tabs today, or otherwise I would get pulled over again because I “forgot”.
The wait time was over an hour. The guy next to me kept sniffling and coughing without covering his mouth. There was not one, but two babies crying. And the guy on the other side of me was talking to his “boo” very loudly on the phone. (She did not want him to come over later btw… but I think he sweet-talked her otherwise.)
But this time, I chose to re-assess. There was a lot of stuff that went wrong today, but there was also a lot that went right. My sister coming to my rescue. No line at the bank. The Prophet who switched out my brake lights, and made me smile.
I guess, the Lauren that messes it all up deserves the same kind of love from me as the Lauren that pays her bills on time and eats her veggies, and goes to the gym on a regular basis.
Sure, there are some things I need to be better at. But I also have skills that are easy for me, that other people quake over. (Public speaking for one!)
None of these skillz have yet to talk me out of a ticket, but hey!
I’m a work in progress.
And it’s all part of the journey, I guess.
I just have to remember to laugh, and bring my friggin insurance card.