Monday, June 30, 2014

On which side of the door did you place your KIA?

There was a young monk who wanted to study with a widely respected teacher. He knew this teacher only accepted the most promising students so he studied the texts, memorized wise sayings and practiced looking impressively serene. Finally he gained an appointment for an interview with the master.

On the morning of his interview it was raining heavily. The young monk set out for the teacher's house carrying his umbrella. When he reached the teacher's house he removed his muddy shoes, closed his umbrella, sat it aside, adjusted his robes and rang the bell.

Once inside he sat where the attendant indicated and waited. After a while the teacher came in. The young monk jumped to his feet.

Now, I drive a bright red KIA Soul, which I park in stall 76 which is to the right of the double entry doors on the south side of our building. I love my little car, which was a gift from my two wonderful sons. It's easy to drive, I can get in and out of it without dislocating anything, the small back trunk area holds the wheelchair, the walker or my grocery cart. It's the perfect car for me.

So I was more than a little perplexed when my neighbour hammered insistently on my door yesterday afternoon to tell me that a tow truck was towing my car away! I wobbled after him as quickly as I could, the driver was securing the last wheel to the trolley as we arrived in the parking lot. My KIA was not in its usual stall.

My first question was; "What is my car doing here? Did you move it?"

"No," he said, "it's been ticketed to be towed for being illegally parked here. We received a complaint that your car was parked in this stall, which belongs to someone else."

It was stall 66. Ten stalls in the line-up short of my stall. (Gobsmack)

I'd made a quick trip to the Walmart the day before, to try and find tomato cages or braces or anything that would keep the topiaries we'd placed in the big concrete pots out front from toppling over. I wanted the bases secured to concrete blocks and buried in the gravel, but I could not get the young men doing the work to do it the way I wanted. They put the blocks in, wrapped a strand of wire around and left the pots perched on top of the gravel. We've had 60 mph winds the last few days, and I've rung myself out trying to wire the darn things down better, but they just flop over again. 

They had no tomato cages, no braces that I could see how to implement. I came home with two iron cage-like things - obelisks - for the garden. They were heavy. Some assembly required. I got them unpacked, clipped off all the plastic rings and tags I wouldn't be able to reach once they were in place and put them together. They were a foot taller than I am, but after struggling to get the first one on I learned that they were too narrow to encircle the topiaries. A real topiary yes, one made of whatever solid material fake topiaries are made of - no.

They were going to stand a good foot higher then the top, and lack a good foot from reaching the gravel at the base of the pot. I could have cried. If I'd had the strength to take them off and take them apart I'd have taken them back, but I had none of that. So I came inside, got some grape ivy greenery I've had for like 20 years and wired the bottom rung of the obelisks to the wire holding the pots.

By now I was wringing wet, weak and getting a bit befuddled, as I do when I'm tired. I slammed the trunk of the KIA, drove around the building and in my haze realized I had driven right past my parking spot. The line of cars in the stalls was unbroken.  I put the car in reverse and backed up until I saw my empty stall with the '6' peeking out from my sign. The car to my left was different than the one usually there, but Jess is a mechanic and often drives a different car home.

"So you want to study with me?" the teacher asked, looking out the window at the falling rain. "Have you prepared yourself? Are you ready to learn what I have to teach?"

"Oh yes," the young monk answered, "I have studied very hard."

I got out of the car, crossed the lot and was puzzled momentarily by the door I found myself at, a single door, not the usual double door I usually come through.  I was not awake.

"On which side of my door did you place your umbrella?" the teacher asked.

The young monk's thoughts flew back to the moment when he closed his umbrella and leaned it on the wall beside the door. He could not remember, his thoughts had not been on the umbrella, but only with the interview before him. "I don't remember," he said, "is where I placed my umbrella of importance?"

"Until you wake up and learn to pay absolute attention to every moment and what it holds I cannot teach you anything," the teacher answered.

The tow truck driver said; "Once we have the wheels off the ground we're supposed to pull the car to the impound lot. But I can see this was just an honest mistake. We have the option to refuse to tow. I'll do that, and I'll call the city but they don't usually rescind tickets."

He got on his radio while I hurried to get my keys. By the time I was back he had my car back on its own wheels and was trying to talk the City out of the ticket, but they said no. But at least I avoided the impound lot which would have cost $480.00 plus the parking ticket to retrieve my vehicle.  As is the parking ticket will cost me $40.00. The person who was parked in stall 76 when I came home will remain unknown. 

Next time I park my KIA I will be awake, even if I am falling down from exhaustion.  A nudge to awaken… so be it.

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