Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Oh Lord, won't'cha buy me a Mercedes Benz?"

Remember that old Janis Joplin tune? Well, way back in 1987 when we were flat broke and jobless with an 18-month-old daughter and another kid on the way, a friend of ours (who had been a Mercedes mechanic) told us (since we desperately needed a second car) that the sturdiest, goin'-est, longest-lasting cars ever made were the 1978 and 79 Mercedes 300D's.

So we found one in what was laughingly called "British Red" (the car had faded to a sort of burnt orange) and, truth to tell, the thing went like a top for as long as we drove it.

Which meant that when it began to grow seriously tired, around 10 years later, my husband elected to buy ANOTHER used Mercedes -- a 1987 300SD. And, 10 years after that, in 2006, when our daughter learned to drive, she elected to purchase yet another used Mercedes, this time a 1977, because it reminded her of the old orange car. Each of these cars cost about $5K when we bought them, and they were definitely fabulous cars for the money. But old cars are still old cars, and eventually even a Mercedes comes to the end of its normal life cycle.

We gave the orange one to our mechanic a few years back after it got inundated in one of our high tides, and the 1987 has been a bit iffy for a couple of years now, but our daughter's '77 is still going strong, so my husband's been driving it while she's been off at college. But she took that car to Vancouver with her this week, and he needs to take my car (a roomy Honda Pilot) down to Portland to retrieve our other daughter and her piles of household goods, so we decided to get the 87 running again to get me to and from the theater.

Unfortunately the '87 appears to have lost all its oomph: it can't get up the hill to even get off the sandspit. Which means that all of a sudden life has gotten rather complicated.

I know. It shouldn't matter, and it shouldn't affect my meditation. But though I sat for half an hour this morning I was incredibly itchy and restless the whole time -- first time I've encountered those feelings in a LONG time -- and the blog just wouldn't come this morning. I went to coffee with a friend, took the cat to the vet, looked at lots of pictures and still -- I got nothing.

Which just goes to show. The peace and joy I find in meditation are an incredible gift, and -- for now at least -- due as much to my relatively peaceful and predictable life as to any superior spirituality on my part: clearly I fold as soon as the going gets tough.

Yes, there's a lot on our plates right now, all four of us transitioning through some impressive life changes. But wouldn't you think that's when we need that peace the most? As I watched them tow the '87 off to the shop -- and spent the next half hour texting back and forth about schedules to my daughter on her boyfriend's cell, because hers is broken and a phone call to Canada apparently costs a fortune -- I realized again how ridiculously dependent we are on having things work, and on having them go according to plan.

But maybe the meditation is helping after all. My friend at the vet's office -- when I explained all the confusion -- said she thought I was surprisingly calm, given the circumstances. And, yes, I guess that's true. But however calm I may appear, I know I'm snapping a bit more than usual. Time to go have some chocolate -- and maybe add another meditation session this evening: looks like I may need it!

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Our neighbor swears by her Mercedes. It's such a tank!

Me? I drive a Nissan ('99) and my husband a Honda S2k. Now his (yellow) beside yours (oh, that orange) would be something to see. Color coordinated?

As we are still in Advent, it's ok to go slooowww.