And then the storm came...
We make plans. Then there is a storm. In the aftermath, we find out all sorts of things about ourselves that we either only dimly recognized but did not give our attention to, or did not even expect to see. The proof of who we truly are is in how we act (or react) in the wake of these realizations.
Recently my area had a devasttaing hail storm. I had just begun my vacation time and was looking forward to day trips or more. The storm began at 5:15. By 5:45 every piece of plastic outside my house was broken - lawn chairs, mini-greenhouse, planters, totes. If this were not devastating enough, the softball sized stones had smashed through my barbeque and my new lawn mower.. The impact into the soil went an inch (2.5 cm.) to two inches deep and my large, beautiful garden, which supplies food for the winter was all but obliterated. It was hard to take in.
The worst was my car. I will admit that I tend to have a special relationship with my vehicle and its demise was a shock. The back window had been shattered, leaving a gaping hole with glass shards everywhere. The front window was completely spidered. There were holes in the front molding and it looked like someone had taken a ballpene hammer to the roof and the hood. Unfortunately, when the back window rear defrost was destroyed, it shorted the electrical. Without the electrical, my hybrid would not start.
Over 500 vehicles were seriously damaged, in that storm., mine being only one. I was fully insured, so I made my claim and I waited. And waited, and waited, and waited.... I waited for eleven days until a representative from the insurance agency showed up and took pictures. The next day, a very nice man, after looking at the pictures, called me from the lower mainland and offered me 1/2 the red book value less my $500 deductible for my car. I did not want the money. I wanted my car back, so I made inquiries about what the damage to my vehicle might mean in terms of money to repair it. The prognosis was neither sure nor within my budget. So I took the money and allowed my vehicle to be towed away - gone before her time.
I was choked over the loss of my vehicle, as I would be over the loss of a good friend - one who had been there every morning to go to work with me, wait all day and then take me home, one who had take me across Canada to visit family and friends and then come back with me, and one who had listened to me air my troubles or sing to my favourite playlist. My faithful Honda Insight is mine no longer. Strange how difficult it was to part with her!
I had almost three weeks to contemplate the things I learned from the hail storm. Here are three:
1. Plastic is fragile
2. I do not relax enough.
3. My car is an essential element in my life.
Plastic is fragile
Between $500 and $1000 dollars worth of plastic (replacement cost) littered my property after the storm. It was a waste even considering that it can be recycled. I will no longer invest that heavily in plastic.
When I buy plastic I am voting with my money to support non-renewable resources. It is an obvious thing but I did not see the obvious since it was cheaper and more expedient to buy it. The storm pointed out rather clearly what should have been obvious. As a result my love affair with plastic is over. I am not saying I will never again buy any plastic. But I am saying that I will invest more heavily in wood and metal whenever possible. I have already begun.
I do not relax enough
Not having a car for three weeks afforded me the opportunity to not distract myself by running errands or going out to meet friends. I had things to do at home of course but it also gave me much needed "down time". And I did use it to relax. It was a revelation that I could take time to relax and not lose my determination to get up the next day and do things, if I chose to. I had feared perhaps that relaxing would make me not accomplish my goals. I was wrong. The storm helped me realize it.
My car is an essential element in my life
A sagittarius without a means of being mobile is a sad thing. We are mercurial by nature and although I did take walks with my dogs, it became quickly obvious that driving is as natural to me as breathing and completely as essential. Watching my car being pulled up on the tow truck was an emotional experience and not a happy one. Did I have friends and associates who gave me rides - yes and I am most grateful for their kindness. But my driveway was lost without a vehicle to grace it, as was I. My new (ish) vehicle will be soon in my driveway and I am looking forward to getting behind the wheel again.
All in all the storm was a positive influence but only after the fact. It very firmly let me know that "...the best laid plans..." can ve interrupted any time and what you do and think about it, will determine how well you come through it.
I was fortunate. Even though I did not receive what I would consider fair value for my car, I was in a good enough position to be able to pay out my loan and get another vehicle. Some people were not that fortunate. I feel grateful that I came through the storm with new insights (even if I lost my Honda Insigh) and can go forward into new adventures.
Never be afraid of the storm - it truly always does have a silver lining.