Meaning in Stupidity

I hesitate telling this story. How much of myself should I reveal to the world? There has to be a limit. Maybe I am influenced by reading yesterday about the benefits of mindfulness and how when we are in touch with ourselves in the here-and-now we can speak from a place of being real and when we are real we have a chance of having a real connection with others. Everyone knows what it’s like to do something stupid.

So here I go. I am like everyone and I’m going to share something stupid I did. Aside from being real the point is that there was meaning to the situation, as there always is. So I want to talk about looking for meaning even in situations of stupidity.

I drove into town to do a few errands. As I was driving up Aggripas in Jerusalem I got to a spot where traffic was diverted. Uh oh. This means I have to meander my way into the maze of streets and find a place to park. I find a spot, get out of the car, put the parking stub in my window and start to walk. I write down the names of the streets I’m passing and where I turned right and left so that I can find my way back.

Halfway to my destination I realize the time in my parking will run out and I better go back if I don’t want to get a ticket. I go back, following my scribbled instructions, find the street I parked on and I’m walking and walking and finally get to the end and…I hit a dead end. No more street. The corner I parked at has magically disappeared. It turns out Rashi is one of those streets that starts and ends and continues somewhere else.

Finally realizing I better take a different tactic I flag down a taxi. I told him: “I can’t find where my car is parked and I need you to help me find it.” Unflustered he said “Let’s go. I’ll find it for you.” In the meantime I also called my appointment for after this errand to say I would be late.

At first he tried driving around the immediate area. Then I decided the only way was to go back to the original place where the policeman was diverting traffic and retrace my steps. It worked and we found the car! Fortunately I was not ticketed. I told the driver he can add this to his collection of stories every taxi driver has. He laughed and we wished each other a good day.

What did this mean to me? I felt it represented the place I’m at in the balance between seeing reality as it is and visualizing what can be. I caught myself at the point of realizing I would not get to the errand and back before the parking time ran out and I realized I needed help finding my car. But I was in too much of a hurry to be focused on what I was doing and retrace my steps exactly. Jerusalem is not Chicago, where I could drive from the North Side to the South Side for two hours and still be on the same street.

I can use some mindfulness to pay close attention to what I’m doing and also not fool myself into thinking reality is something other than it is.

On the positive side there was meaning in my response to the situation. I was relaxed and knew he would find my car eventually. There was nothing else I could do about it so I settled into the reality of what was. I mentally gave gratitude to God for this situation where I could exercise my acceptance in a way that I could not do if everything had gone smoothly.

Has anyone out there ever had this experience?

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