Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's a Good Thing Things are Just Things.

Earlier today, my dad backed his car out and found that it wouldn't move. He thought the car went on some sort of auto-lock mode, so he hit the gas pedal harder. Turns out the thing preventing his car from moving car.

I surveyed the damage and found a sizable dent accompanied by scratches on my front bumper. I wondered if I should fix it. On one hand, it's pretty ugly. On the other hand, it's just a dent. On the third, odd hand that I don't actually have, it's an addition to a couple of other bumps and bruises the vehicle has endured.

I thought about it and thought about it and eventually put it in the back of my mind.

Then, after work I decided I had no food in the house and needed to make a pit stop at the grocery store. At the exact moment I walked up to my car after shopping, (as I struggled with the bag whose handles just broke off) (did I just personify a bag?), a large truck swiped the passenger side of my car.

The guy was extremely nice and apologized for hitting my car and for taking up my time. (This was much better than when a lady rear-ended me and then wouldn't look at me and was extremely rude and talking about me on the phone). (Or how about the time I rear-ended a deaf person and she wrote on a piece of paper "I'm just glad you're okay." Tear.)

I could have gotten upset and wallowed in self-pity. But then I remembered what I read in Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. He explained a time when his wife had backed one of their cars into the other car. She hid both cars inside the garage until he got home from work and all day long, she fine-tuned her plan of how she was going to break the news to him. She made his favorite meal and towards the end of it, spilled the beans. His reaction was to wait until they finished eating dinner to go look at it. He told her as long as the cars were running, they were fine. She was shocked that they were going to drive around in dented cars, but he said "If your trashcan or wheelbarrow has a dent in it, you don't buy a new one. Maybe that's because we don't use trashcans and wheelbarrows to communicate our status or identity to others."

I'm still going to get my car fixed, especially because something about the door handle function isn't proper. But it was a good reminder: things are just things.


  1. That is a good reminder
    My car has a few dings in it and when they occurred I didn't have the extra funds to fix them, now even though I could afford it I don't think it's as important as I thought before.
    Your poor father though lol
    Your next post will have to be about eating humble pie

  2. I have to remind myself of this a lot, especially when something has sentimental value. In the end they are still just things and I can't take them with me when I die.
    People add value to your life, things add clutter.

  3. Everyone needs this reminder now and again. More often than not, actually. So thank you.

  4. This!!

    That's what moved me past my sadness/frustration/anger when my purse was stolen on my birthday. Even though YiaYia's wallet was in there, I had other possessions of her, but most importantly I had memories and pictures of her. Even though I was happy when the wallet/purse were returned to me, it didn't take me long to get over the fact that only my things were stolen.

    I could have been mugged for said things. It was the reminder that they could be replaced that let me enjoy my birthday. Or just my attitude of "the show must go on" ... still had a party to throw! ;)

    I also really liked Carrie's comment "People add value to your life, things add clutter."

    I've been realizing that more and more lately, and in turn buying a lot less things and spending more time with people.


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