Do you laugh or do you cry?
When I was at home with the boys, right after my marriage failed and we were living on nothing, I drove a Tarago van. It had seen better days. It was rusty, about as aerodynamic as a loaf of bread and the skylight leaked. Every time it was raining and I had to turn right, a trickle of water would sneak down the back of my neck. If you think that doesn’t snap you to attention, you’d be wrong!
But I owned it outright, so I kept on driving it.
One Saturday, we’d been to watch Tom8 play football. After the game, we went home via JB Hi Fi, an electronics shop that had a peculiar fascination for my boys. They’d save up their pocket money to buy games, cds and dads. One or two of them had some money that was burning a hole in their pockets, so to JB Hi Fi we went!
Once they’d finished, they followed
I grabbed the door handle and slid the door open.
Except it kept on going. The door slid right off the car, with only one set of bolts or screws or something holding it on. It hung by one screw, gently swinging.
The kids stared, open-mouthed.
I stared, open-mouthed.
My thoughts were racing. My mobile was at home. Speaking of home, we were too far away from there to walk. The car was now unroadworthy and the door was hanging off like a drunken teenager off a tram. How could I sort this out? What was it going to cost?
My choice was clear. I could either laugh or cry.
I swung around to face the kids. They were looking at me, a
I started to laugh.
I laughed and laughed, practically doubling over.
The kids’ faces relaxed and they followed my lead, all 5 of us laughing like crazy.
I mean, why wouldn’t we? The whole situation was ludicrous.
If something happens that you can’t change – unless it’s an absolute life tragedy – you always have a choice on your attitude towards it. Whether you laugh or act like it’s the biggest drama EVER, it’s not going to change the situation. So why not make things easier for yourself and everyone around you by seeing the lighter side of it? Nobody likes a Debbie Downer.
And if there’s one thing those hard years have taught me, everything bad, embarrassing or uncomfortable that happens to you ends up being a damned good story one day. Think about it – it’s true.
We ended up walking to a car yard a few hundred metres up the road, where they let me use their phone to call the RACV. The mechanic came and secured the door and we were able to drive home. All’s well that ends well.
And ironically, one of my most treasured memories of those hard days is swinging around to see the kids’ faces after the door kept going, and then our (probably slightly hysterical) laughter on the side of the road as the door hung crookedly, still swinging as we laughed.