Shit happens, and more often than not, they force us to weigh risks and make decisions. At the beginning of our lives, we have our parents, older siblings, and a bunch of other authorities to rely on to make calls for us. At some point, though, we have to get out of the baby seat.
Case in point: last week, I was driving alone in a suburban neighborhood when the car suddenly to shake violently. Something had come loose. Every few feet I drove, the car would protest with a fit of automotive epilepsy. Every time I pressed on the brake, the pedal seemed to push back a little bit, then fall as if whatever was holding it up suddenly fell apart.
So there I was, faced with a choice: do I call for a tow truck, or drive back?
I know from experience that calling a tow truck would take a long time; a half hour if I’m really lucky. I was also not sure whether a tow truck would be allowed in that neighborhood since public utility vehicles and trucks were not allowed in. Finally, getting towed is really expensive. On the other hand, driving back could be dangerous. Who knew what was wrong with the car? Would it get worse if I tried to drive it any further? I didn’t know, and not knowing made me feel a little nervous.
I had gotten the car serviced a few months back; I had the bushings for the front tires replaced, as well as the tie rod ends. I reasoned that if there were something seriously wrong with the suspension of the car, it would have been detected during that time. But there had been no mention of serious trouble with the suspension or risk of the car falling apart.
That’s when I made a decision, took a calculated risk: drive back, but do it slowly to minimize the chances of further damage.
The car seemed to appreciate the slowdown; the quakes turned to shudders for a while. After a while, they got a little stronger again, and a persistent knocking started at one of the back tires. The feedback from the road started to get more intense. Thankfully, though, the way back wasn’t so long, steep, or rough, and I got home, though not without suffering a few stares and getting “helpful” advice from some policemen on patrol (“Just get home carefully”).
It wasn’t much of an ordeal, I know. But it really felt like the scariest hour I’d experienced in a long time, and I was glad it was over. It also felt strangely good to have made a decision that felt risky at the time, but have it work out well in the end. When we get the courage to just decide, it feels really good.
I seriously wish I had a better story to go with this song (sung by I Fight Dragons; thanks to manchegokun for the clip), but I lead a boring life. Does anyone have a better one? I’d love to hear it!