Thursday, January 19, 2012

Plan Ahead

NYPD Impound Plan Ahead

I love listening to those goofy brothers on NPR talk about cars.  Let’s face it, most of us grew up with cars and still define ourselves by the cars we drive.  And even though I’ve been in the big city without a car for nearly a year, I’m still a California guy humming ‘get around, get around, I get around…”

So it was a nice surprise when a friend who was going away for a month asked if we wanted to babysit her car. Hey, we’d have wheels and wouldn’t that be fun. On the appointed day we took the subway and picked up our loaned wheels. As we prepared to drive away, all the while thanking her profusely for letting us borrow the car, we heard but didn’t really understand when she said it was a good deal both ways. We smiled and nodded as if we knew what she was talking about.  NOT.

So we took a leisurely and luxurious ride home, and when we got to our neighborhood I proceeded to drive around looking for a parking spot, and then drove around some more looking for a parking spot. I finally found one, proudly and expertly parallel parked and walked the few short blocks back to our apartment.  Next day I thought I’d be a sport and go see if the car was ok – and as I walked to where I had parked it, it wasn’t there. Ok, so maybe I was confused.  I walked around some more and, guess what – it wasn’t there.

I freaked out. The police have a website that will tell you if they towed it – all you need is the make, model and license plate number.  Who has that – especially on a car that’s not yours?  Our friend had that information but she was on her way out the door.  But she got it for us, we entered it into the website and, don’t you know, they had the car. Next, I had to find the impound lot and give them a copy of the registration, a driver’s license and check or credit card that all had the same name on it.  Of course my name wouldn’t be on the registration, even if I had the registration. My wife noted that we needed a notarized statement from the owner attesting to the fact that we were legally, if only temporarily, the possessors of the car. So we called our friend back, just as she was leaving, and she miraculously had a neighbor who was a notary, scanned the letter and a copy of the registration and emailed it to us.

Stuff in hand, I found the impound.  It wasn’t nearly as confusing as the DMV and they efficiently took all my information, then took a rather large check and pointed to a sign that said “wait here for escort”.  I got in that line, put my hand in my pocket for the keys and discovered I’d left them at home. That was it for me.

As I stood there with a terribly forlorn look on my face, that old adage popped into my head: Plan Ahead.  And that’s the lesson of this sad tale.  If only I had planned ahead.  If only I’d taken a moment to learn and know the rules, to study the things I needed to know, to plan how I was going to deal with what I was doing, to have a backup plan if things didn’t go right, to talk ahead of time with my others about the complexity of what we were doing or getting into, to stop when disaster struck and calmly assess my options, and to think everything through.  All of this was relevant to my experience, and it all applies to all the other things we do in life each day too. And out all this I’ve come up with one more New Year’s resolution:  Plan Ahead.

And my message this week is about another New Year’s resolution that some have made:

Arte Nathan“Help Others”
At the end of the day there’s nothing like helping others.  You can always help yourself – that seems to come naturally. You can do what you do… for you, but the real value comes when you do what you do for others.  You can talk to yourself, you can walk with yourself, you can cook for yourself, you can clean up after yourself, you can work for yourself, you can read to yourself, and you can always think for yourself.  But where’s the joy and satisfaction and value if at the end of the day you’re just left with yourself. The best part of life is sharing, collaborating and engaging with others. Self-satisfaction – the kind you get when it’s all for and about you - is far less rewarding and fulfilling than the satisfaction you get from doing things with and for others.  Look around – you’re not alone.  Listen – there’s a world of people and stuff all around you. The key to real success and satisfaction is the way you play and work with others, is the way you engage with others in common pursuits, is the way you feel when you experience the reactions of others. Make a point of helping others – today and every day.

Stay Well

1 comment:

  1. Is this topic connected with your professional status or perhaps is it mostly about your leisure and kinds of spending your free time?