We had only swerved right and driven past the unmanned cubicle at the entrance of Citis Square Mall when Hal asked out loud for his ‘rockstar’ parking. This is not an occurrence exclusive to that day or place, but to every time we decide to drive anywhere – and I decide that he drives.
Sometimes the decision will be followed by many regrets, amongst which are micro anxiety attacks whenever he ‘safely’ follows cars at a distance that scaredy-Ram is not comfortable with, or almost-near-death-experiences whenever he swerves far too swiftly for my fragile little heart to handle.
Oblivious to the psychological mess his driving leaves me in – I’m aware that it is not for me to complain about since I always ask him to drive – he chirpily asked, “right, where is my rockstar parking?”
He drove past rows after rows of parked cars. With no free parking space in sight, I promptly traced back, in my head, my last few shopping to figure out if I had any loose dollars for Times Square underground parking fees. Or – if my last shopping was for weekly groceries – cooking a meal at home was another option.
I had already started my ritual of letting go of worldly needs (affirmations of how one can live without fruitime’s refreshing C5 broccoli, melon and apple juice, nor does one need another Ochado’s scrumptious Hokkaido Ice Cream Puff – for that day) when the backlights of one car turned on and the car began its slow reverse out of parking.
“Hah, there it is.” Hal exclaimed – no tinge of doubt in his voice that this was, in fact, that parking space sent to him from the Heavens.
Was it men’s arrogance? Or, was it confidence from years of luck in finding parking?
See, if this was me, the story would instead go: Ram drove into a full parking lot. She thought, “oh no! Will there be any parking space? Alright, what shall be the plan if I can’t find parking?” She drove round and round the place until she finally decided that it was time give up and drive back home – while repeating her affirmations of letting go of worldly needs. ‘One can live without fruitime’s refreshing C5 broccoli, melon and apple juice, nor does one need another Ochado’s scrumptious Hokkaido Ice Cream Puff – for that day’.
Once – or more – I did do just that.
I was trained from very young to plan and prepare. Now a teacher, I am no stranger to the cliché advice, ‘if you fail to plan then you plan to fail’. But, what if all this while, I had been planning for failure?
I have read somewhere about the drawback of contingency plans. Sure, they make us feel safe. They make us feel that it is okay to screw up, give up and then let go of our initial intentions. “There is always plan B”. One often thinks that the security of having something to fall back on would make one less scared to go all out when trying new things – and such can be the case. Now, however, I wonder if this feeling of security is also what had enticed me to opt for the lesser option and to let go of my deepest desires (yes, I was really craving for my fruitime C5 and Ochado Puff!).
What if there were no backups? What if the plan was the only plan? If I had gone in completely focused in my search – certain that it was there for me to find – instead of wrecking my heart and brain listing options which were safe but never what I wanted?
I imagine the process scary and anxiety-inducing. Perhaps, similar to how I sometimes feel towards Hal’s driving.
“But, did you die?”
So far, Hal found his rockstar parking, and I had gone to where I want to be – in one piece.