So, finally getting back to finishing the story about the monster truck that creamed our car ... and just so you have all the facts, it was not a five-inch scratch as reported but a good ten-inch crease. I measured it this morning.
But I want to sidetrack for just a minute in order to give the truck story its full due.
We have a friend who prides himself on being able to cram three 30 gallon cans of garbage into one 30 gallon garbage bag (lotta jumping). With my efficiency obsession, this is a practice I heartily admire but it's a bit of a painful reminder of my own attitude toward time.
I know how to cram at least 36 hours into 24: cut back on sleep, cut out all pleasure and non-essentials and multi-task like a maniac. A guy once asked me if I was doing something else while we were on the phone. "Of course." I told him, unabashed. "I'm doing the dishes. I'm a mother! I'm always doing at least two things at once. Though I draw the line at vacuuming and talking on the phone." (He never called again.)
So everybody's heard of 'eating lunch at your desk'. I assumed that that meant that you chewed while you kept on working. Apparently, that's not necessarily the case. I used to eat breakfast and lunch at my desk work work working right through. Only shame and guilt (and lack of an impending deadline) crow-barred me away from the office to cook and sit at the dinner table with Mr. Green.
But for the past month, because of The Power of Less (thank you Victoria Trestrail!), except for a handful of reversions to my bad old ways, I've taken to eating in company or eating as a meditation. There's no reading, no radio, no working - just chewing and enjoying the food. And this is having a radical effect on my life. I have a sense of ease and a sense of peace that there's enough time. I even think I have a growing sense of confidence and joy, all from this incredibly simple change.
So to get back to the Confrontation While Alternate Side Parking story, it's in large part because of my new zen-ed out state (my awareness that I will go as 'big' as I'm supposed to while doing only one thing at a time) that I had an extraordinary experience that day. It also involves a piano.
Remember Ava throwing herself on the piano?
Well once upon a time, children around this house practiced on that piano and it got a lot of use. Now that they've grown up and are off living far away, this massive, dark piece of furniture is parked right in the middle of the apartment sort of blocking the door, totally crowding the place and looking to me like a huge Black Widow Spider -- and why? I threatened Mr. Green that I was going to find someone to move the piano and shopped for a good bargain. And then on one of those 93º humid days, three guys came to do the herculean job of getting this massive thing down to the floor below.
In former times, I think I would have been in my office working away, busy as a bee, while they moved the piano. I would have figured, hey, they're professionals, why would I be there? But because of breaking this habit of trying to cram 48 hours into 24, it was clear to me that I should be there. And as it turned out, I'm so glad I was.
The piano couldn't make it down the narrow turn at the head of the stairs so the only alternative was 'the long way'. The long and perilous way. It had to go out the kitchen door and down the steps of a wooden deck. But until they got the piano out on it, I hadn't realized that this deck had not been built to withstand the weight of three big guys and a massively built, fifty-one inch tall piano.
Neither had I realized how much communication and negotiation goes into moving a piano. The stakes are very high for every lift so they were constantly bargaining with each other on what the next move would be.
And meanwhile, the deck and the stairs down to the garden were acting like they were chopsticks or toothpicks, not two-by-fours. There were cracking and splintering sounds, the deck was shuddering, wobbling like a hammock and seemed to pull away from the building. To counteract visions of the whole platform separating from the house and throwing them and the piano into the garden, I used my 'white light' technique (which is no technique at all ... seeing circles of white) ... and praying. They were hard-working guys. They wanted to get the job done. More than once, back in the kitchen, they had asked, "You really sure you want this piano downstairs?" They wanted to please me. They also definitely wanted the money for the job. Did they realize how dangerous it all was? They could feel the deck shuddering, hear the wood splintering. I stepped back into the kitchen figuring I could at least avoid being the 'straw' that broke the camel's back. Mostly I prayed.
When they were about half way through this torturous job, off the deck and stairs but approaching the steep narrow stone steps down to the house, they took a break and I became aware of a loud chorus of horns filling the air. One of the guys asked me (my hands were free) to go check and see if their truck was blocking traffic.
Running to the front windows, I saw trouble and called for one of them to move their truck. The truck that had creamed our car the day before was, ironically, stuck right behind the piano truck and the rest of the block was paralyzed. Angry drivers were out of their cars and a traffic cop was writing a ticket. I had my Wonder Woman moment with the driver (see blog, Day 225) and thanked the cop for not giving the piano truck a ticket. "Oh I gave him a ticket." I asked for how much ($65) and when I told the piano guy, he almost broke down. "Oh GOD! This city! It'll kill you! You try to make a buck, there's no where to park! Sixty-five dollars??"
Here this guy, not a young man, had been putting every ounce of himself, possibly risking his life, into the brutal job of moving our piano. I'd noticed when he'd first arrived that he walked with a very heavy step, that his body seemed to be carrying a huge weight even when he carried nothing at all. And because I'd been right with him during the move, living through every inch of the piano's journey, I was with him with my heart wide open: "I'll pay the ticket." I didn't look at him but felt his mood shift instantly. We walked and found a spot, checked it out with the traffic cop and went back to finish the job.
I'm wondering if this experience of feeling the physical courage and vulnerability and then the financial difficulties and finally love for these piano movers was equally if not even more powerful than my Wonder Woman moment.
As far as 'going big', is it possible that this is the definition (actually) of what it means to 'go big'? Daring to live with your heart open, vulnerable, daring to feel with your fellow man - taking your eye off your particular prize. And here if I'd been at my desk, I would have missed this whole experience, this extraordinary joy.