Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 16: I’m out of automatic dishwasher detergent. This discovery foils my plan to remain in pajamas all day editing. Working from home has its perks. I seriously consider letting it wait, but, the dishwasher is stuffed and there’s not a clean dish in the joint. Reluctantly, I put on pants.
Driving home from Whole Foods with “six items for $80” in my possession like the satirical rap song “it’s on in the whole food parking lot” says, I curse myself for buying the hooey hooey (read “expensive”) dishwasher detergent they sell to save a trip to Vons, getting lured into their cheese section—I can’t resist the triple creme from Cowgirl Creamery which is the same price as a new kidney—and for getting carried away in their gluten free, sugar free cookie section. To make matters worse, while examining my impulse purchases, I remember that a brand spanking new Trader Joe’s just opened down on Honolulu in Montrose five minutes from me. “I bet I can find gluten free Udi’s bread there and cheaper artisanal cheese,” I grumble. Next time. I might have to be cut off from Whole Foods, too.
Traveling north on the CA-2 freeway I notice I’m almost out of gas. Instead of going the normal route home which puts me in the path of a Shell Station right down the street from my house, I choose to jump off on Verdugo. There’s a Mobile just off the exit. I haven’t used my speed pass in a few months and I want to keep it active. As I drive down the off ramp, I see lights flashing, debris scattered and cars backed up. It’s an accident. A white ford fiesta with a completely crumpled nose is being pushed up the street by a police cruiser with all lights spinning. The other vehicle involved, an indiscernible black SUV, is crunched like an accordion now perpendicular to the correct flow of traffic. A yellow Life Medical ambulance is parked next to it—lights but no sirens. I see a woman in scrubs and those little blue booties over her shoes run toward the scene. Luckily for the drivers and passengers of the cars involved, they crashed 100 feet from the Verdugo Hills Hospital.
Traffic is diverted through the movie theatre parking lot. I turn left, drive by the bagel shop and AT&T store and come out at the end past the accident. I give a glance back. I say a prayer no one is hurt and I give thanks I wasn’t at that exit 10 minutes earlier I might have been involved. I proceed to my destination. I spy several open pumps. Awesome. This particular Mobile station is usually jam-packed. I pull in, jump out, unscrew my gas cap, slip in my credit card, lift the handle, press the cheapest possible option and insert the nozzle to fill’er up with some much needed fuel. I need some fuel, too. I worked late, was up early and haven’t had a chance to have any breakfast yet. This explains my Whole Foods indiscretions.
I hear the petrol whir deep within the innards below my feet. I depress the lever and click it into lock to let it flow. It starts but in a split second, stops. I feel my patience wane. The $9 sugar free, dairy free gelato I had no intention of buying is melting. Not to mention, I have a ridiculous amount of editing to do. Dan the amazing editor man officially starts today. I only had one scene with its bin complete and ready for him to work from. I have two more to prep by tomorrow. I pull out the nozzle and put it back in. Nothing happens. I do this multiple times. I hope for a different result. What’s Einstein’s definition of insanity again? I just want some freakin’ gas! To speed up the process, I push the middle button option, the one for the “nicer” gas that’s 10 cents more a gallon. Nope. Doesn’t work either. I can’t bring myself to give premium a shot. I draw the line at the expense of that convenience. I lock up the truck and jog over to the Circle K/Mobile convenient store.
“Excuse me, the pump doesn’t seem to be working, should I try another one?” “No, they all just suddenly stopped.” “Are you kidding me?” “No, we don’t know why, they’re all out. Won’t be back up for a couple hours.” For a split second I wonder if the accident is to blame. No, that’s impossible. Accident is above ground, gas lines below. My mind analyzes the situation as I gingerly walk back to my truck. How incredible? My choice to take the Verdugo exit has now extended my quick trip to get dishwasher detergent and some gluten free bread by almost an hour? I’m not upset. I’m curious. By choosing to take a different route home I experienced something completely different than if I went, well, a different way. All I can think is how the simplest choice can dramatically impact your future. I contemplate my next move. What will it bring? I stop by the Shell Station near me to fill up the tank without incident. I ponder buying a lottery ticket but decide I’ve been lucky enough already today. Nothing out of the ordinary happens the rest of the way home.
This duo of events remind me just how much I have to create from the second my eyes open in the morning. What I have to create from includes every single choice I make—big or small, seemingly inconsequential or life altering, conscious or not, every choice creates something.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…especially your choices.