Katy Peri-Peri has taught me to be the Dalai Lama.
This fucking car. Everything works perfectly – until it doesn’t.
She’s off to the mechanic again to fix a problem I fixed before. As I watched those six sexy backlights drifting off on the back of the AA truck, again, I smiled. The smile took me by surprise. Then I smiled again because I realized I wasn’t angry anymore. The car had somehow taught me something about the nature of expectation and disappointment.
When I first got the ’69 Chev Impala, all I could see was long road trips filled with many sunsets, business ventures and grand adventures. So when the mechanical problems started to surface and I got stuck in the middle of a busy road for the first time, I raged. I swore at the car. I cursed the bastard that sold me the car. I cussed and blasphemed at the unfairness of it all. And every time I got the car back from the mechanic I believed THIS TIME, it would be perfect. It never was.
I was peeing behind a bossie on the side of the Modderfontein off-ramp, when I realized Katy Peri-Peri was teaching me something. She had just broken down on the highway and I scrambled up the embankment while waiting for the tow truck. I looked down upon her, a magnificent heap of metal and possibility. “Oh well, so I won’t make it back in time for dinner,” I thought. “But I have a nice bossie, some shade and the water I keep for Laty’s leaky radiator, so I’ll be just fine.” I started laughing. That was it. “I’ll be fine.” Fine is enough.
So I have a new attitude with this car now and it is spreading to other areas of my life. Every time I get into that car and put the key into the ignition, I know one of two things can happen: Either it is going to start or it isn’t. If it starts, cool, then you go on your road trip. If it doesn’t start, you have a few other options: call the mechanic or walk. You’ll get there. You’ll be fine.
If it rains, either the wipers will work or they won’t. If they do work, excellent. If they don’t, you’ll simply end up half-naked on the N3 because you had to take off your T-shirt and wipe the windscreen while you drive and you’ll get home a little later and wetter. Either way is fine. You’ll get where you want to be if you don’t stop.
Look, I still swear a lot when she breaks down, but that is only because I like swearing. Saying ‘fuck’ very loudly ten times in a row very quickly makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It’s like saying ‘Ohm’ in yoga class.
Katy Peri-Peri has taught, nay, bullied me into acceptance that everything is at once very, very hard and very, very easy. Also, I now have a calmness and peacefulness when things go wrong and I think Katy has imparted that on me. I no longer place such a large chip on any particular outcome in any situation and that is a great liberation. A car gave me that.
Katy Peri-Peri. A large pile of shit – and opportunity.
Isn’t life just like that?