My wife just called me and told me that she damaged the car by hitting a curb. It may cost us some repairs, and perhaps a new tire and aluminum wheel. She was distracted for a moment, irritated about having to return to her office and turn off the A/C (which hadn’t been working well anyway), and she just got careless for that instant.
I’ve never been one to hold unnecessary blame for things — at least not most things. I can spin out a good resentment as readily as the next guy, but over the years I’ve found I tend to do that less and less. That could be due to the perspective of nearly seven decades of making my own mistakes, but I suspect it’s also due to my program of recovery, because I note that a lot of folks my age tend to be a bit more rigid. Whatever the case, I’m happy for it. Being unnecessarily pissed off is so tiring.
And I mean…really, now. Exactly. What’s the reality here? Michele is unhurt, albeit pretty upset. She’s able to drive the car on surface streets, so she’ll likely get home without a tow. The dealership is only a couple of miles away. The car has no permanent functional damage, so it’ll cost a couple of hundred bucks and some inconvenience to set things right — perhaps some lost hours at work for her that can be made up later (although I hate to see that happen, because she works too much as it is).
I’m not happy about the money; we’re not that flush. Not flush at all, in fact. Nor am I happy about the damage to the car, the stress on my honey, or the inconvenience. But the reality is that Shel loves that little car at least as much as I do. She’s responsible for hurting it, so she’s the one suffering the anguish, not me. She’s okay, and the situation is fixable. It’s not as if she’d been injured, or one of us had relapsed, or one of the kids got stepped on by an elephant or something. It’s a tire, probably a wheel, an alignment, maybe a bit of minor bodywork, and that’s all! On a scale of one to ten, it’s a two at worst. Maybe less.
What, then is the point of getting upset? Does it help? Nah. Does it hurt? Sure. Hurts me, my honey who can read me like a book, and it’s not good for my overall frame of mind. A dinged Hyundai isn’t even in the ballpark when it comes to tragedy. A sad wife is a lot more important.
It’s all a matter of perspective.