My first day back at school was boring, but I thought that day 2 would be better. Not so much.
I woke up this morning sweaty and tired. I did not get much sleep because the power had been out since yesterday morning. It is never under 90 Fahrenheit here in The Phillies, so a loss of power generally means a loss of motivation to do anything. However, in the main part of the city there was power. That fact motivated me to get out of the house. I needed to clean myself but no electricity means no water. I didn’t have time to go out to the pump, so I wet a handkerchief with alcohol and rubbed it all over myself to feel somewhat clean. I put everything I needed in my bag and got myself out of the door.
I forgot to readjust my bike seat, so my groin and butt were in a little pain, but nothing too bad. I made it across the bridge and down the street. I was tired because I hadn’t eaten since noon the day before. I was attempting to motivate myself to keep moving . . . then, my pedal broke off. I looked down to notice that part of the reason it was so difficult to pedal was because I had a semi-flat tire. I get off and push my bike. I try to hitch a ride, but everyone is full of passengers. I walk my bike all the way to the city. I am devastatingly tired.
I finally find a ride for the last little stretch. I tell him to take me near to where I need to go. He doesn’t take me. He says he can’t get there, but I have lived in this town for 7 months now. You can pull right up to where I need to be, but he refuses. I’m out P15 and am stuck walking my bike up to the shop. The shop is still closed. I then walk my bike all the way to work. I am looked at funny and laughed at. A tired sweaty foreigner pushing rather than riding his bike is apparently very amusing.
I get in to my office. I sit down. I turn on the fan. Thank G-d for electricity. I sit down for about 30 minutes. I use the time to situate myself and to try to organize things. I am extremely hot, but I am thankful for the fan. Then, of course, the power goes out. I want to punch something or scream or do anything to rid me of the boiling frustration that has become my day. However, I am at school and I must compose myself.
I then get a call. I answer. My dog was hit by a car. I tell my girlfriend that everything will be ok. She is hysterical, but I don’t have a bad feeling about the situation, so I’m sure things we’ll turn out alright. I try to just take a nap. I need to rest and my co-teacher understands and lets me skip our class today.
I start sweating. I begin to stink. I need to get out. I decide to go have my bike fixed. I do. I am happy! Things are ok! I then notice my tire is completely flat. It’s ok. I’ll just go to the gas station. They have free air there, right? Yes! Yes they do! I walk up briskly and am redirected back to school because the air doesn’t work when the power is out. I walk back to school. Sweaty, smelly, and defeated. I sit down for ten minutes and decide to just cut my losses. I go home.
I walk and walk and finally find a trike that will take me and my bike home. He notices my predicament and takes advantage of the situation by overcharging me. I am too tired and hot to fight with him. I just give him the money and hope that karma will take care of the rest. I get home and realize I forgot the power cord for my friend’s laptop at school. I can’t just leave it there. I want to cry. During the ride I think about what it must have looked like when my dog was hit and my eyes begin to water. I quickly compose myself as to not confuse the driver. I shell out even more money to get back to school to retrieve the cord.
I get it. I come back home. I am delighted! The power is back on! I attempt to call my girlfriend to make sure everything is ok with the puppy. She calls me back. He is brain dead and will be put to sleep if he doesn’t show any positive signs soon. She tells me that even though his lungs and heart are fine he had significant brain trauma. She tells me that it will be very expensive to keep him on the “puppy life-support” and that he will have to be put down. I want to tell her to keep him alive whatever it takes, but I know that it is not practical. She says she’ll wait, but things aren’t looking good.
I then remember my own money problems and the fact that I don’t eat breakfast or dinner to try to save my money. I then remember my parent’s money situation and how it isn’t so hot right now. I then remember how their situation is stretching their relationship thin and how THAT isn’t great either. I then think about how NOTHING is going right and about how I have a million pimples because of this heat and that I have absolutely NO control of ANYTHING and I just want to scream!!!
And that’s where the revelation happens. Control. It is an illusion. We pretend as if we have control. We don’t. Nothing is within your control. Everything you hold dear can be gone in a flash. Nothing is permanent and nothing is promised. Humans are weak. There is an oil spill that we can’t seem to CONTROL. There are terrorist groups out there that we can’t seem to CONTROL. There are liberal and conservative talking heads that we can’t seem to CONTROL. There are natural disasters happening every day that we can’t seem to CONTROL. We cannot control anything and it drives us mad!
Buddha says that the only thing worth controlling is yourself. Christ tells us that those who realize they are not in control have peace. One of the main tenants of Hinduism is being able to control your own mind.
I am beginning to learn that true control is to be able to control yourself. Nothing else in this world is controllable.
I surrender. I can’t change any of my situations, but I can control how I feel about them. I can control who I become after them. I can try to grow rather than stagnate. I can move forward rather than look back. I can hope. I can pray. I can dream.
I feel like my summary should be. I had an awful, terrible, disgusting day . . . Then my dog died.
This day was not fun, but I learned something. I’m still not happy. I am very far from it, but I can get through this. I know I can.
– Brandon Holly –
p.s. – Sorry for the depressing post.