By Heather Ijames
I had one of those comedy of error days. You know, when it seems as if the world is trying to cram as many things in as possible to go haywire. By the end of the day, I was actually thinking I should drive through a fast-food joint, because by that day's flip-flopping rationale, my order would've been right.
Still, I think mixed-up, crazy days are not only inevitable but necessary. Mainly from what I like to call the "Shaken Syndrome." I once watched someone illustrate how what is truly inside of us will sooner or later come out. The speaker had a cup of water, shook it, and bam, water's on the floor. To which, he asked, "Why did the water come out?"
Some answered, "Because you shook it." While true, his point was water came out of the cup because there was water inside the cup. And relying on the principle that every cup, AKA every life, will be shaken, the real mystery is not whether the contents will spill, but what's in the cup when it happens.
So take my day, which started with a dead battery. And I mean dead as in it's time to go back to horse and buggy dead. No dome lights, not even a puttering click that said it was close to having a pulse. In essence, I had a three-ton paperweight and 20 minutes to get to court in front of the most punctual judge in all of Kern County.
OK, so first there was cold panic. That was the first drip out of my cup as it got sloshed. But the reaction was so short-lived, I want to call it the film atop the liquid since the cup had been sitting there a bit, stable and left in peace. After, drop of real Heather hit the ground. I leapt from my car and started hollering for my husband before my high heels even hit the pavement. I don't even think it was English, and that's saying something because I only know the one language.
My husband ran out in his pajamas to help and was pretty darn calm about it. He told me to hold one end of the jumper cables while he connected the other end to his car. But my brain thought: Hold? As in stand here in one place and be still? But it felt so much better to run around in circles and fret, clenching my teeth and exercising my neck veins. And as soon as he finished with his end of the jumper cables, and took mine, I did just that.
Then he told me to get in the car and start my ignition. Nothing. Commence the head banging.
After about five minutes of attempts, my car started and I threw my car in reverse. I think Charles managed to unplug the cables, but I don't think I would've stopped if he hadn't.
So, here's my point: This girl needs to dump out that current cup o' water and refill with something a little less in the category of what my friend Erika would call lab monkey at the Mountain Dew testing facility.
To a large extent, I think a lot of us are like this. We're all high-ho, everything is awesome and I can smile all day. That is, until someone or something shakes the good-golly jollies out of our cups. For me, it was a dead battery and then an almost humorous, daylong exhibition of all the wrong things happening. I had an eye twitch by noon and was standing in a corner -- experiencing a self-imposed timeout -- by four.
However, by the end of the day everything seemed to have already corrected itself, or at least given me the opportunity to see the rose for its thorns. And then guess what I was left with? Horrible, scraggly images of a woman who utterly freaked out and flopped in front of her husband, children and unsuspecting members at the gym. (Although I still sort of contend that if you're checking your Facebook for 20 minutes while pretending to use the thigh machine, you're asking for it.)
If I saw my children freaking out the way I had, I'd want a cattle prod. Well, OK, I guess not that. But at least a drastic reduction in sugar and all that fun stuff. Still, the point remains that if bad behavior in others would shock me, then what was I doing displaying it for my kids to learn?
I'm not happy my cup spilled over and a bunch of bad stuff came out, but I'm grateful that enough of that mess splattered in my face to give me a wake-up call. It's time to fill the cup back up with cleaner water.
Heather Ijames is one of three community columnists whose work appears here every Saturday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian's. You can send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org Next week: Inga Barks.