Today, I am grateful that this ginormous zit on my chin is the biggest problem in my life right now.
I heard my wheel make that adrenaline-spiking “THUP THUP THUP” noise and pulled over onto the shoulder immediately.
It’s terrifying being on the highway when you’re not the one driving. The air being displaced by 18-wheelers and oil tankers thundering by shook my car over and over again, and pelted my face with pieces of gravel when I got out to inspect the damage.
The tire didn’t look visibly flat. I called Florida Highway Patrol anyway because the noise had been enough to terrify me to pull over. (The long story involves dialing FHP and getting a list of menu options I couldn’t decipher, then calling 911, then getting routed to an officer in West Palm Beach who routed me to an officer in Orlando, finally.)
They said they’d send a Road Ranger.
When the truck pulled up with lights blinking and a white man in his 50s got out, I steeled myself.
I thought he would be someone who hated his job, someone who spent his days feeling put-upon and annoyed at crazy motorists, and worst of all I was resigned to dealing with someone who would look down on me and talk down to me and try to make me second-guess myself.
But he wasn’t like that at all. He listened and took me seriously when I told him what happened. He tucked his lanky body into the space between the chalky barricade and my car like he could have been there all day, carefully inspecting the wheel for damage. Not once did he belittle me or make me feel stupid.
After he had changed the tire and checked the air pressure of the other ones, I tried to give him some money. He rebuffed, even when I insisted.
I got back in my car. In my rear view mirror I saw him standing by his truck, motioning to motorists who weren’t changing lanes with both arms like he was throwing fish. They dutifully turned on their blinkers and switched lanes so I could merge back onto the highway.
I never got his name, but I’ll never forget him.
I prepare every day for a thousand little cuts and wounds, but I don’t prepare for kindness.
I think from now on, I will.
Yesterday, I did not mean to eat a mini guava pastry, cupcake and a cup of weird-tasting soda, but I did, because it was there and I was there.
I was at Channel 9 logging football scores. As the night grew longer and the scores began to trickle and then pour in, I could feel my shoulders growing tighter and tighter and my breaths becoming shorter and shorter.
Don’t get me wrong, it was exhilarating. I felt like Mr. Universe:
After the last score was in, I finally took a deep breath. I laid myself down on the ground (no one blinked an eye) and felt my back and shoulders crack in three places.
The web manager asked me something and I shot up like a cartoon character. I did feel a little silly lying on the floor.
After I got home and in bed, I let my torso hang over the side of my bed to let gravity do its thing. I did a few sit-ups. I may have even cried a little.
I wanted a bowl of ice cream, but went to sleep instead.
This morning when I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror and thought, Damn, I look good. I can’t lose this.
Of course, on closer inspection I thought I can lose this and this and this, but you know what I mean.
That’s just one day. What if I had a shift like that every day? What if I wanted a bowl of ice cream every day?
What happens when I leave college? I need a plan.
I used to think it was difficult to keep the weight off in college, but UCF is probably the only reason I still fit into most of the same clothes. God bless it for being as sprawling as the city in which it resides.
I can’t afford to tell myself I’ll get healthy when I graduate. This is probably the healthiest I’ll ever be in my life unless I take steps to ensure it remains that way (or gets better) for the duration of my career.
Here is the beginning of a plan:
- bring my own food
- resist food that I did not myself bring to work
- resist pressure, real or imagined, to eat work goodies
- bring a ton of water and chug away
- arrive early and walk around Lake Eola before my shift
God willing, it works. I like being slender, but I will jeopardize it because I like journalism more.
Here’s to having both.