I'm the first one to admit that my life is an adventure unfolding at a faster pace than I can keep up. As I was getting into my SUV at the bank this morning, I thought, "wow, it looks lopsided." Sure enough...flat tire. Figures. I drove to the gas station across the street where I filled it up with air, noticed a nail in the tread, called my mechanic who said he'd fit me in between appointments if I could wait and off I went wishing I'd at least bothered to put on some make-up.
Usually, waiting at the mechanic's is a tedious chore so I grabbed some reading material and a Diet Pepsi. Annoyed that I'd be putting off work for a few more hours to deal with "yet another thing", I parked and wondered how much time I'd be wasting.
On torn chairs facing an ancient television that's stuck on one channel, sat an older gray-haired man hunched over and staring at a patch of carpet between his feet. I plopped down on one of the ratty chairs, pulled out my newspaper and prepared to wait indefinitely. Noticing my reading material, he started a conversation about politics (we were obviously on the same page and he could tell by what I was reading). Before I knew it, I lost all sense of time and place. The man knew things...he'd been places. He was more interesting than the newspaper and droning television, no question.
A decorated Vietnam Vet and retired Pentagon man, he spoke about his perspective on the war in Afghanistan. He'd been there as recently as six months ago, talked about the assassination of a sixteen year old girl that he'd witnessed, spoke of the futility of fighting in a country where they hate all outsiders, and how we should all work for peace. He cried as he spoke of his own daughters and how he'd seen things that darkened his world. We talked of integrity, justice, Taoism, CIA, war, hot springs, relationships (value of friendships and marriage), retirement, fear slash fiction based media and the importance of activism. We covered a lot of topics in that dark waiting room.
When my mechanic announced that my tire had been patched, I didn't want to leave this old man who had tears in his eyes. I sincerely thanked him for sharing his story with me. I felt honored to have met such a man on a snowy Colorado day in the mountains.
When we open ourselves up to others, it's amazing what we can learn about the world around us. Nothing is as it seems. That old man was a hero--a living, breathing, honest-to-goodness hero who enlightened my world for awhile. I felt honored to have shared that time with him. Who would have thought that getting a flat tire would be a blessing?
About Moxie Girl Musings
Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com