Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Flat, Salty, Deflated Tires

I spoke too soon when I boasted last week about how productive my life is, because I definitely put too much on my plate sometimes. Yesterday, I fudged up my volunteering schedule so was running late for my shift, then realized my bike tire was flat. Really the flat tire had nothing to do with my jam-packed calendar, but it reminded me of how tight I schedule my day-to-day life. I cram it all in and leave absolutely no room for hiccups.

My first instinct with the flat was to freak out, perhaps leave my bike at the shop and hurry up to Open Books. But I would still have a flat tire and no bike. Thankfully, the folks at the bookstore are super understanding and know all about work/life/volunteer balance. So I decided to get it fixed before riding up there.

There’s a repair shop precisely six feet from where I park my bike, so I rolled on in. The mechanic took a look and began to give me the run-down on my bike: it’s in bad shape, kinda. The tires are old and cracking and are getting worse from biking in winter (salt). He found multiple pieces of glass, which have probably just been hanging out there for some time because my tire pressure was so low. It’s supposed to be at 90 PSI, and mine were at 20. Really I am lucky I got a flat because I could have blown my tires in the condition I was riding.

I felt stupid. Stupid for messing up my volunteer schedule and nearly missing my shift. Stupid for not checking my tire pressure and biking around with apparently a whole freaking windshield in my tires. Stupid for feeling like I could do 10 things in one day. And stupid for thinking any of this even matters.

Mandatory let’s-talk-about-France moment: Those people don’t care about anything. They don’t care to get stressed about things anyway. I got really good at this carefree attitude when I was over there, but the longer I’m in ‘Merica, the more easily I seem to get stressed about minor petty things such as scheduling mishaps and flat tires.

But the flat tire was good. I couldn’t go anywhere, so I could breathe a little bit and not rush to my next calendar reminder. I just had to sit there. And do nothing. It was exactly what I needed to do. I thought about how maybe I need to scale things back a bit. And even though I won’t, I’ll at least check my tire pressure more often.

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