Diverted

So the holiday ended.

I energized myself for the return to work.

Bag packed. Masks washed and ready for the week.

My day mapped out in the planner: Lessons to review. Emails to send. Trainings to schedule. Reports to complete and submit. Meetings to attend. Agendas to make…

Quick check on the weather. In a word: Yuck. Raincoat and boots needed for morning bus duty and filling in at carpool arrival afterward.

Lunch packed (Note to self: Go to grocery store ASAP…).

oh yeah, my temperature. I’ve learned I am usually below normal, in the 97.7 range (at the moment 97.8, but I just sipped my coffee. Kids arriving at school in heated cars can register as high as 105…we have a fleet of touchless thermometers that must be left out in the cold for a few minutes to calibrate. We will have to perform several rechecks before verifying a child does NOT have a fever and may enter the building…).

Enter my temperature in the district website and answer the COVID questions for this cheery message: Thank you. You have passed your daily health screening. You may report to your worksite. Remember your 3 W’s: Wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth. Wait six feet apart. Avoid close contact. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Have a nice day!

Um.

But I am ready to go, with time to set up before the arrival bell rings.

Except.

I forgot I needed gas.

4 miles to E.

That’s okay. See, the gas station is only about a mile up the road here.

I pull in, happy to see no one is at the pumps: I’ll still make it in plenty of time!

There is, of course, a reason:

Every. Single. Pump.

I sit for a moment with rain sheeting across my windshield…

…nothing for it but to go back home and tell my son he has to take me to work.

—He has no gas in his car, either.

But he does have gas in Pa-Pa’s 1989 blue Cadillac DeVille. With the dented-in back door on the driver’s side where the boy cut the turn into the garage too close (it is a LONG car. And that’s one of the few times I’ve seen my young Cadillac Man cry).

There’s more to this story, because the unforeseen complications didn’t stop there; these were but a harbinger for a day full of absurd and unexpected turns. My neat list in the planner … poof. Suffice it to say I texted admin that I’d be late. I made it just as the tardy bell rang.

In an afternoon meeting—online, naturally—the facilitators (battling internet connectivity issues) closed with this message:

I did not throw my laptop of out the window (after all, the laptop nor the window belonged to me…).

I just kept on flowing.

Even when there was no gas.

A reminder that I’m only going so far on my own resources. With my best-laid plans that can disintegrate without warning.

Willing to be led by the process of life…

Even when diverted, to an absurd degree, with plot twists right and left…

And it was sort of beautiful, in its way, arriving at my destination in a vintage Cadillac with a willing and loving driver.

Lead photo: Gas pump. Mike Mozart. CC BY.

15 thoughts on “Diverted

  1. So much to relate to in this post. I have also arrived at gas stations with about a mile worth of gas left to find the pumps closed. It’s a feeling that’s tough to flow through! Hope this morning’s a little smoother. My guess is you have gas and I don’t know about there, but in CT, it’s a little less dismal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – tank’s full now, and it’s a pretty but frigid morning. I suppose I can celebrate the creative rethinking spawned by non-working pumps – or to embrace problem-solving. Most interesting twist: my son just so happened to be calling me as I arrived back home, for my help in a situation of his own. Quickly resolved. Here’s to the adventure of today!

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  2. O you flowing miracle of mirth – I’m sorry but I laughed at the end! I hope that was your intention. I felt like you were having a Rube Goldberg type caught in a contraption experience. How sweet to have a loving son who inherited a family heirloom on wheels. And praise to therafters for every hurdle our educators flow with, every work day. We have a kindergarten classroom teacher in our family, so the deets are known to us. Hope TGIF arrives without so many hitches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jan, you yourself are ever a delight – I am delighted here by you catching the (albeit dry) humor, and by the sparkling flow of your own words. Phrase-turner extraordinaire, you are. I’ve made it safely to Wednesday – imagine! Thank you so much for your sustaining wishes. So grateful.

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  3. I haven’t encountered any closed-pump gas stations yet. Makes me think I need to make sure I’m refilling at 1/4 of a tank since this could happen here.

    I adore the way you went with the flow, Fran! Having that ability is crucial, especially these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Stacey. Survival surely depends on one’s willingness to ride strange and curious tides, whether great or small – submission is a hard thing but full of release. Ongoing strength and safety to you and yours – always grateful for your words and your stories.

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  4. Fran, well written and humor! You kept reeling in the reader as you always do! My favorite lines are “I did not throw my laptop of out the window (after all, the laptop nor the window belonged to me…).
    I just kept on flowing. Even when there was no gas.” Sometimes that’s what we have to do-keep flowing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t throw the laptop out the window in our mind. Happy late Thanksgiving. Hopefully, you were able to spend it with your family and grandchildren. Have a great rest of the week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad the humor came through, Gail. Thanksgiving was low key, lovely – thank you and I hope yours was lovely as well. My granddaughter came to spend the weekend with us – joy. I so appreciate the gift of your words here.

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  5. I forgot to say I love your ending “And it was sort of beautiful, in its way, arriving at my destination in a vintage Cadillac with a willing and loving driver.”
    Thankfully, the Cadillac had gas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right?! Thank heaven for the old Cadillac! And my boy. I was grateful for the unexpected moments with my son, as I made myself let go of angst at being late. I am glad the ending spoke to you – I struggled with ending the post – and am always grateful for your words, Gail.

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  6. “Willing to be led by the process of life…” This is such an important message, Fran. I not only saved the quote but will place it in my notebook and send it off to others. What you presented for us is a scenario that has been played out by many in one way or the other, but with determination you moved through the issues and landed on your feet. May you always serve as a beacon of hope for those who struggle with conflicts.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, my word…after I read the quote, my eyes drifted up to a piece of paper taped to the hutch on my desk: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”–Joseph Campbell. And, of course, the saying “We plan, and God laughs.” While I have found that writing down plans does help me accomplish more, I have learned to make peace with the stark reality that there are many, many things beyond my control, and very rarely do my lists get completely done. I love the “knight in shining armor” moment with your son and the Cadillac, and could feel your frustration at the gas station and with the tardiness (I, too, hate to be late). Thank you for this post, because I already know that the rest of my week will be spent scrambling a bit due to circumstances beyond my control…and now I know that I’m in good company.

    Liked by 2 people

    • How futile are our plans sometimes (“God laughs,” indeed) and how often do we press on with them at the expense of so much more (life that is waiting for us)? Lots to ponder in your thoughtful commentary – all getting back to being able to turn loose and go with the flow… hopefully not an undertow… at least here we can anchor a bit to one another!

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