Driving home I was at the end of my rope. I’d HAD IT with the world! I was completely over it all. I wanted to just give up now, collapse right here, and never get up again…. pretty extreme stuff… It’s actually not like me at all. I’m usually too stubborn to give in. But what I described above is actually a common occurrence whenever I DO give in.
The back story is that last week the chain broke on my bike. (Closer inspection today revealed so many bent items that I suspect someone must have run over it with a car the last time it was chained up in the city, but that’s another story.) So today I had to get it fixed and I went to my community bike shed. The idea is that they have lots of tools and donated second hand parts and then volunteers show you how to fix your bike yourself.
The problem was that, despite getting there early, it was quite busy with very few volunteers. This, coupled with FOUR sets of terrible advice meant that 4hrs later, I’d done a lot of waiting and a sum total of only about 15mins work. I had very little to show for it. I was definitely putting my patience to the test!
To make matters worse, I’m not good at pushing in and asking busy people for help when they’re already busy helping someone else. This meant that others often interrupted me and my helper often didn’t make it all the way to my station before getting distracted and going to someone else instead. As usual, I was left falling through the cracks… coming last in the ‘attention’ race.
To make matters worse still, my frustration showed and when I did ask for help I was met with hostility from volunteers who were already overworked and underappreciated. But I stubbornly pushed through all this, trying to remain calm, trying to ask nicely, trying not to blame the ill-tempered volunteers for both neglecting me and giving me ‘quick’ ill-conceived advice.
On top of all that, I realised several hours in that I was shivering with cold. I kept thinking I’d be ‘done soon’, but eventually, 3hrs past my lunch time… I gave up and decided to go home. I was so exhausted by the whole ordeal that I was even fighting back inexplicable tears on the drive home. Four hours of torture and I still don’t have anywhere close to a working bike!
So here is where I turn the story completely around…
I was truly at the end of my rope, but I do have an exceedingly long rope (read capacity for tolerating emotional pain). So I pulled together what little resources I still had left and made a decision. I would skip lunch (it was already 4pm) and go for a run instead.
I actually hate running and I was still shivering to the core, but what is a bit of physical torture to take my mind off the emotional ordeal I just went through. It worked! The run was extremely unpleasant, in the cold, on an empty stomach, and by the end I was in a significant amount of pain (tho not more than usual after running). I say it worked because though I was tired and hungry, I was also calm, and that was the main thing. Being tired and hungry are things that can be easily fixed. I got home, stretched my tired muscles, iced my painful knees, took a hot shower and sat down to a VERY well deserved meal! Mission accomplished!
Maybe today wasn’t so bad after all… and after a good sleep… maybe I’ll have the strength to go back tomorrow and try again to fix my bike…