My Sportage was submerged up to the fenders in thick, gritty mud. Rain pattered down, then poured, and the windshield wipers valiantly thwaped against the deluge. The nice guy who stopped to help push out my vehicle yelled directions through the open window, and my left side was quickly drenched. My Good Samaritan was already soaked, but he waved away my profuse apologies. “No worries,” he smiled, “It’s an adventure!”
Does it count as an adventure if you’re just outside your own cul-de-sac? They’d torn up 7th street earlier that week, resulting in a cratered gravel road. Other compact cars had maneuvered the rutted obstacle course, so I assumed my hardy jeep could conquer it as well. Alas. Once again, I could put a tally mark under Book Smart, Not Street Smart. (Literally.)
We finally gave up; I left the car and slogged through the rising rivers (blessing or curse I was wearing flip-flops?) back to the house, knowing my dad could pull me out after work with his truck. I hate being an adult, I chafed as I contacted the city so I wouldn’t get fined for leaving my vehicle in a construction zone. They redirected me to the project manager. “We’re done for the weekend, so leave it there as long as you need,” he said, then laughed, “It’ll keep other people from driving there.”
Normally such a statement would spread flames of humiliation across my face and chest. But I looked at my smeared clothes and feet and had to laugh with him. As frustrated as I felt, I wasn’t panicked. I hadn’t rejected the help of my Good Samaritan like usual, preferring to muddle through on my own rather than reveal my ignorance. I’d thought clearly enough to call the city, spoke calmly. I was embarrassed at being a cautionary tale, but I didn’t wallow or cry or eat away my foolishness with Cheese-Its.
I wasn’t reacting the way I would have a year ago, even six months. A smidgen of stupidity still bit me, but I wasn’t paralyzed by it. I was growing. Accepting each moment as it came, muddy or not. And that realization made the whole adventure worth it.