The Flat Tire
Twenty-five thousand feet up in the air, in the belly of an aircraft, I felt physically closer to God. It may have been the beautiful Roy G. Biv I saw in the distant horizon that makes me ponder my life choices making me lip the words, “God, help me find the answers to the questions I’ve asked.” I close my eyes and I find myself in a meditative state where thoughts and ideas run rampant. I wake up to the double alert sounds signaling final descent into San Francisco.
I walked hurriedly through the airport terminal passing the television showcase that’s been on display for about a year. I had one goal in mind – to get back to my apartment in Palo Alto and lay in my bed. In no time, I found myself inside of a taxicab letting the driver know of my destination. His name was Sid and he began to carry on a conversation with me about the weather and about how his night was going. As we zipped through 101 southbound lanes headed down to University Ave, I hear a loud pop sound that woke me up from my daze. The car swerves a bit and Sid regains control of the cab. The car began to smell of burnt tire and I could hear the metallic rims scrape the freeway. Cars were zipping by honking their horns as to make us aware of our situation. We pull off to the side of the freeway and I asked myself, “is this what I do with my Saturday nights?” To spend it on the side of the highway with discarded garbage, with hundreds of cars zipping by rattling the Prius, and Sid telling me how he feared our safety. I sat calmly in the back seat with my heart pounding every time a car’s headlight lit up Sid’s hazel eyes. Was this the car that would hit us from behind and throw us onto the freeway walls?
It’s around midnight and I continue to look forward at Sid wondering when I’d get home and anxious to lay in my bed underneath my feather comforter. I began to laugh hysterically. I realized I could react to this situation one of two ways. I could complain continuously until they rushed another cab to the site or I would accept the fact that the tire was flat and I wait for another taxi to arrive. I chose the latter knowing how I react to the situation and how I frame it could determine the rest of my night. I waited patiently engaging Sid on conversation about his life. As Sid gets on his phone, I look at the vines that have grown through the cracks of the freeway walls making its way up towards the sky. At that moment I realized the question I asked 25,000 feet up in the air was just answered.
I’ve been a bit flustered with the pace of reaching certain goals in my life. The flat tire symbolized the current state of my situation. I’ve been fortunate to know the destination I ultimately will reach. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I’ve managed to continue to move forward. In life, we all know about the roadblocks and bumps we encounter and the detours we make. Sometimes we find ourselves back on that same path or headed in a totally new direction. The flat tire was a symbol to take that much needed pause. Yes, I’ll get to my destination maybe not in 20 minutes but in an hour. All in all, what matters is that I’ll make it there and how I make it there in terms of my state of mind is under my complete control. I could go through life complaining and focused on the negativity or I could go through life accepting such flat tires allow us to pause and reflect in order to move forward. The journey doesn’t end with a flat tire. It ends when you let your self believe it will, but if we wait it through, we’ll discover that the tow truck will come along, change the tire and guess what we are back on the road headed to our destination.