A bucket full of patience

Years ago, in Puerto Rico,  I ran into my dad’s neighbor at the airport in San Juan.  She and her husband were traveling with their kids. I don’t know if our plane was delayed or it was just that her kids were running around and driving her nuts but she just turned to me and said- sometimes you just have to bathe yourself in patience, you just have to take a bucket full of patience and pour it over yourself.  It was one of those random things that just stuck and it pops in my head when things are taking too long.

I’m meeting Nai and Alabama in Las Vegas this weekend. I’m driving there so it seemed as good a time as any to drop my car off for an oil change and a check up.  I always put it off because it always ends up costing me more than just an oil check and check up. I know what you are going to say, that I shouldn’t get all that stuff done at the dealer but I used to take it somewhere else and they messed up my car and it cost me even more.

As I waited for the paperwork for my car to be done I pulled out my notebook and started writing. Every night before I go to sleep I try to write a list of every thing I did in my day. If I’m too tired I write it in the morning. The skinny, older, slightly scruffy man helping me asked if it was a journal and I said sort of.  He said, “there was a time I used to keep a journal. I don’t know what happened to them. Boy, I would love to read them now. I went traveling when I was young. I drove to Arizona, Washington, Oregon.” He told me a story about his truck breaking down during a rainstorm. He’d run into a church to keep warm and the pastor had asked him if he needed a place to stay. The pastor gave him a bed and food and in the morning they both drove to a reservation to hand out medicine and insulin. “That was one of the best days of my life,” he said. As he told me the story I could see what he looked like forty years ago driving around. When I was  doing my meditation workshop something similar happened with the man running the class. He told us that when he was seventeen he had only read one book for two years- Leaves of Grass. He had carried in his back pocket as he traveled.  Reading over and over had been a meditation to him. The meditation teacher was much older than the man at the car place but he also transformed before my eyes as he told the story.

My car wasn’t ready by the end of the day, and I ended up with a rental. It felt like a million things kept making me think about the bucket of patience. Things beyond my control kept making me late for everything.  I thought about the man at the car dealership and how he had wished he still had his journals. I told him that I had huge, flat boxes underneath my bed full of journals- fifteen years worth. I didn’t tell him that I had been thinking of getting rid of a large chunk of them.

When I drove home in my rental Fleetwood Mac’s Sara was playing on the radio. I can’t remember when the last time I heard that song was but it took me right back to being in eighth grade and staying in my mom’s car listening to music, reading Tama Janowitz, while my little brother finished soccer practice. It made me feel both old and young. Old because I feel that I have stories about times when I was a lot younger. Old because I see my sister and hear her stories and think- Oh, I’ve felt that way, I’ve done that. Part of me misses being that young but part of me doesn’t. I feel old because at 37, even if your early thirties were an extension of your twenties, your twenties are long gone. I feel young because I am but it also feels so present that thirty-seven is the precipice of something new.

One Response to “A bucket full of patience”

  1. I'm still learning from you, as I'm making my way to the top as well. I absolutely enjoy reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!