Friday, September 17, 2004

Flat Tire

Yesterday I experienced the horrible moment when you get a flat tire. I had never gotten one before and it is certainly something I don't want to go through again. I sat in my car with the engine running and the AC on, fighting the 100-degree heat outside. As I waited for roadside assistance to come, I thought about how there are a lot of flat tires that occur in life...not just the literal ones.
When you have a perfect interview and you posess every skill the employer is looking for. The interviewer even hints at hiring you. Then, you get a call two weeks later saying, "they found someone more qualified." Flat tire.
You walk across a room to talk to that one guy that catches your eye. He seems interested. He smiles, he buys you a drink, he even touches your shoulder with his hand. You give him your number and you never hear from again. Flat Tire.
You send your transcripts to 10, 20, 30 different magazines and publications. You're proud of your work and think it is the best you have ever done. After weeks of going out to the postal box, you finally get a response..." we cannot use your article at this time." Flat Tire.
As I contemplated all of the flat tires in life. A man from a house across the street came over to the car.
"Do you have a flat tire? My friends and I can change it for you."
The other two friends didn't speak very good English, they just smiled at me. I opened the trunk and they went to work. Once in a while they would disagree with one another on how to do something, but then they would agree on something and nod. Within a few minutes they had changed my tire. One man had the flat tire and went to put it in the trunk. He was afraid to put it in so dirty. So, he wiped down one side of the tire with his shirt. He dirtied his shirt for me...a total stranger. I was really moved at how they came and helped me. I said thank you and that was all they wanted.
"You're welcome. It was not a problem." All three smiled.
They then walked off and sat back on their patio. What a simple gesture. And, most people think we don't live in a world where people still help one another. It was a crappy day filled with flat tires, heat and unmet deadlines, but there was sunlight in the middle of all of it. I recognized that there was goodness still left in our society. There are people who still think of "community."
I learned a lot yesterday...I need to have faith and hope. And, I should never let flat tires get me down. They can always be changed out with a new tire.

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