In mid-July, everything fell apart from air-conditioners to phones to cars and more. A growing river of money and time surged out to sea. I pulled out the credit card, tried to get some sleep, shrugged, and made dinner. I also took extra headache meds when needed and freaked out in tiny bouts in between reminding myself that this happens sometimes. As someone without a steady paycheck or a salary for that matter, I know well the hamster wheel of feast and famine that suddenly doesn’t just stop, but flies off and hits the hamster in the head.
We brought to the car to the shop, installed the new a.c., buy a phone, and went on our long-awaited vacation where our credit card continued to get an extreme sports workout. When we returned home, reversal of fortune! All the checks I was waiting on slowly landed while my phone made that delightful cash register ringing sound it does when people enroll in classes or pay for more coaching. Meanwhile, the prodigal car returned home from weeks in the shop finally fixed, I finished setting up the new phone, Ken replaced a bunch of light bulbs, and we did lots of mundane household tasks because before, during, and after reversals of fortune, there’s the laundry (and dishes).
The world is made of metaphors. On our vacation, when we got to Coney Island, Ken — to my surprise — said, “Let’s ride the Wonder Wheel.” I thought it was an ordinary ferris wheel, but no. Half the cars that hold riders are the love children of roller coasters and ferris wheels, suddenly rushing and tilting wildly at high speed before calming the $^%#& down again.
Not knowing any better, when we were asked if we wanted a tilting or stationary car, I chose the tilting one, thinking it would rock gently as we ascended and circled back now. Quite obviously I’ve chosen a life with roller coaster cars, but then again, it’s not a matter of choosing. This is what life does. While I have miles and lifetimes to go before I take life with greater equanimity, there’s a lot to be said for reminding ourselves that sometimes life goes upside down. Sometimes it rights itself, but be calm, anxious heart when it flips or surges again. It’s just another tilt of the ride.