You know how sometimes, something will happen that just forces you slow down and pay attention? The kind of thing that, even if you don’t want to, makes you step back from your busy day and life and really be in the moment?
Well.This is the way I am TRYING to look at my broken kitchen faucet. It’s better, I guess, than talking about what a pain in the butt it is.
So we’re home only a day or so when my husband walks to the kitchen sink, flips up the faucet to turn it on and…it breaks. The top part just comes right off, crack!, in his hand, while the water keeps running. Whoa. For a moment, we just looked at it. “Well,” he announced, “that sucks.” Which was, I have to say, a massive understatement. For the last four days, anytime I’ve wanted to use the kitchen sink for anything—washing my hands, washing dishes, washing fruit, you name it—it has gone from a simple process, i.e. turning it on, to this:
1. Find green handled pliers in the mess that is my kitchen island.
2. Reach over to faucet, get grip on little metal part in the middle.
3. Pull up, hard.
4. Adjust for temperature.
5. Wash whatever needs washing.
6. Push little metal part down.
7. Discard pliers to be lost again in the mess that is my kitchen island.
And repeat, about a hundred times daily.
Do you even realize how often you use your kitchen sink? Let me tell you, people: it’s a lot. At first, it was kind of fun, like camping. But then, after pinching my fingers in the pliers, and losing the pliers several times, it got old quick. But, as I said, I am trying to take a longer view on this. I have always been the sort of person who rushes through everything, thinking ahead even when I’m in the middle of one thing to what comes next, and then next. It’s a sickness, I’m serious. For instance, right now, when I should be enjoying how well the book is doing, and how well it’s been received, I’ve already been waking up in the middle of the night and thinking, “Oh, God. What about the next book? It has to be even better!” Which, I can tell you from past experience, is a very dangerous way of thinking, especially at two in the morning. Even worse than pinching your fingers with pliers.
Because I am prone to this kind of behavior, I do try to take any hints from the universe that I should slow down to heart. It’s like when I have one of those days when everything is taking longer than it should: I drop my keys, hit all red lights, arrive ten minutes before the store opens, get stuck in traffic. At first, it’s unnerving and frustrating. But then I try—TRY—to just take it as a forced pause, one I would not allow myself otherwise. Which sometimes helps. Sometimes, though, I just sit there and curse and pound the dashboard. It’s day to day.
When I left for the book tour, I was freaking out about everything. Flying, how the appearances would go, if the book would continue to sell, you name it. I had this incredibly thick itinerary that was so complex and busy that just looking at it made me feel like I was having a panic attack. But the morning I was leaving, I saw this quote I had tucked away on the shelf in my bathroom, along with a bunch of family pictures and knickknacks. It said, “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” That’s from Buddha, who knows what he’s talking about. So I picked up a pen, and wrote it down on the first page of my itinerary, so every day when I hauled it out of my bag to see what came next, I would be reminded to just enjoy it, and think no further than this day, and this thing. And you know what? It helped. So maybe this faucet thing has, and will, as well. Slow down, breathe. Enjoy yourself. Tomorrow is tomorrow, but today is today. Might as well try, pliers and all, to be here now.