Have you ever had “one of those days”, where everything that can go wrong, does? There’s a name for it. Murphy’s Law. Today was one of those days… but thanks to a couple of lifesavers, a Jacuzzi and a taxi driver, it ended on a high note. Let me tell you the story of five lows, six highs and how everything turned out ok.
It started out a typical Saturday morning: sleep in till 830am, espresso and Brazil nuts, walk, breaky, yoga. I was ready to scoot to Bondi for a quick dip and read a book in the sun when suddenly the wind changed..
I had arranged to check out a Kombi at midday, my latest little dream. The seller was having a Murphy’s Law day like mine would turn out to be. For the first hour I sipped a poorly made coffee with a British dude who also wanted the kombi. We agreed it was a good price, sounded like it was in good mechanical condition, and underneath the niceties we both knew only one of us would get it. The seller messaged again: “Just another 20 minutes…”
I decided to scrap my swim, scooted home, and got ready for the evening ahead, leaving Jo to look at the kombi first. A dangerous move I know. I then scooted back to finally check out the bright orange 1974 kombi. I took Xee for a drive, and fell in love. I’ve never driven a big car, especially one with a long pole for a clutch and ridiculously huge steering wheel. Geez it was fun! Jo had made an offer, inside my head the pressure was on. Not one for thinking first, I acted: “consider her sold,” I told him. I called my sister to tell her the good news that my Festiva would now be hers, and agreed to meet her and my mum at circular key for a celebratory drink.
Just one problem: my scoot keys were nowhere to be seen. I emptied my pockets, my bag, and the kombi’s interior. “It has to be here!” I exclaimed helplessly. A vision of an expensive locksmith coming out was making me desperate (No, I don’t have a spare). I called my sister and cancelled, then I said a little prayer.
In desperation I checked the street, under leaves on the road and footpath. What do you know, there it was: my key, on the street, where I’d first met Xee. I hugged the kombi seller. By now it was 4pm, the time I was supposed to be at a friend’s birthday drinks on the other side of Sydney.
My mum called with sensible words about checking the price of the kombi, having my uncle check the mechanics, all that blah blah blah (that I do appreciate and know is important, but can’t be bothered to do..) Anyway when she called for a second time I had just arrived home, and after two coffees and not enough food my hands were so jittery that as I answered the phone, I dropped it in the sink. It wasn’t full, thank goodness, but a saucepan full of water fell on top of it.
Now if I had one of those sturdy old Nokias, all would be fine. But these temperamental iPhones are not so forgiving.
“Cough cough, splutter splutter.” It said. “I do not recognize whatever you are doing to me”. Or some weird error message along those lines appeared.
“Please come back to me!” I cried, followed by another little prayer.
I opened it up (as much as an iphone can be opened, i.e. took off it’s cover) and tried to revive it with a hairdryer. At first the speakers refused to breathe.
In time, with a lot of love, my recovered back to it’s good ol’ self. I called mum to apologise for being short.
I made it to my friend’s b’day drinks in Manly, only one and a half hour late. First problem was finding a park. Then there was a sound. A strange sound. “Is that my car?” I thought, turning my music of. Then, at a traffic light, “You have a flat”, a dude across the road pointed. SHIT.
“A beer will fix everything,” I said to myself. I found a park, downed a couple of icy cold ones, and contemplated my tyre. Basically a new tyre too, two days after my car had been serviced. How depressing.
I sweet-talked a couple of the boys at the party, and went to double-park the car somewhere closer. On second thought not to tear boys away from their beer, I decided to go to the petrol station.
“I’m going to figure out how to do it myself,” I said optimistically, asking the guy behind the counter for a little direction. He showed me how the jack worked, and with a set of pliers I started to lift the car.
Enter my lifesavers: two elderly men walking by.
“Do you need a hand?” they asked, “do you have a jack handle?”
My face must have said it all. Before I’d said a word they had some long handle thing joined to the jack, my car was lifted, hubcap off, bolts undone, spare tyre on. Done and dusted.
“You guys are lifesavers!” I exclaimed a few minutes later.
“Actually we are,” they laughed, pointing to the Manly Surf Lifesaver logo on their shirts.
Hoping in my car, the next heart pounding moment was the breath tester.
“Have you had anything to drink?” The copper asked.
“Yes.” I gulped. I was pretty sure I wasn’t over the limit, but you can never be too sure.
“Count to ten,” he ordered.
“One, two, three, four…” BEEP. “Your ok, good to go.”
I thanked God for the sixth time that day.
“A bad day makes for a good night,” a friend said at the pub. And it did. Back in the city my friend picked me and, dressed in a Brazilian flag, we went to a United Nations themed party.
So you wanna know what the funniest part to this whole long winded story is? Well, in my opinion it’s actually not the fact that I ended up swimming in an indoor pool and sitting in a hot bubbling Jacuzzi at 1am, but the taxi driver who at 2am delivered me safely to my door.
He (the taxi driver) was Pakistani, had done more degrees than me – from computer science to commerce and another couple I can’t remember – and was telling me about his dreams to go back and do engineering. “The problem is jobs.” He said.
After my last entry about the gap between education and real-life, that point really hit home. I can criticize the education system all I like but it’s not going to change the nature of the jobs that are available, which is ultimately the priority of education: survival.
In tribal society education must teach children to hunt and build huts. In our society education must teach us to survive within the system: to fit into a boxed up job that gives us money to buy our pre-killed meat and pay for our pre-made houses.
If we are lucky enough to find a job we can survive from and enjoy, then kudos to us. And if there’s a way of surviving, enjoying, and helping improve our survival system so it’s less destructive to our mental states, to the 4 billion people condemned to poverty from it, and to the planetary ecosystem that future generations need to survive on, then even better.
Murphy’s Law may say that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, but Juliet’s Law (as this day’s high notes and low notes exemplified) says that “whatever can go wrong can be fixed”. Now all the world needs is a couple of lifesavers.
Xee, the kombi I’m about to buy!!! (XEE is her number plate, if I remember correctly).