Friday, May 25, 2012

A tattered life held together with duct tape and Gorilla Glue

My driver's side mirror secured to my Subaru with duct tape and Gorilla Glue.

For the past five months, my driver's side mirror has been secured to my Subaru with duct tape and Gorilla Glue. Clinging to what remained of its structure, that broken mirror was a metaphor for the sorry state of my life: laid off, forced to sell my house before it went to the bank, downsizing in a hurry and trying to figure out how to function in this new "normal."

On Christmas Eve I knocked the mirror loose when I had a too-close encounter with a support post in my storage unit's parking garage. I was retrieving the most basic Christmas trimmings--the Christmas stockings of my two young adult children and a small collection of Nativity sets, including those made by the kids when they were wee ones.

Just a week earlier, with the help of many friends and family, I had moved from my three-story house to a Lilliputian one-bedroom apartment. I was settled in enough that I was cooking Christmas dinner for my children and we were opening gifts together on Christmas afternoon. Despite all the turmoil, I was determined to create some new Christmas memories with my kids.

With Christmas boxes in hand, I climbed into my car and waved at the storage facility attendant who was waiting for me to leave so he could close up shop and go home to celebrate with his own family. He already had shut one of the gates and was getting ready to close the last gate. I put my car in reverse and WHAM!

My poor mirror was broken but it wasn't shattered. In fact, on a cursory glance it didn't look damaged at all. But it could no longer function in the way it always had. It could no longer move to give me a clear view of what was coming up behind me. Again, a sad metaphor for my life.

I think I said the "eff" word--which is not usually part of my vocabulary. Then I drove to my new apartment and prepared for Christmas with my children.

Getting the mirror repaired wasn't an immediate option. My car insurance deductible is $500. I was unemployed and didn't want to claim the boo-boo on my insurance anyway.

I took my car to an auto body shop and explained my circumstances. The kind man didn't have the heart to tell me how much it would cost to repair it, but he did say that my best option was to wait until I was employed again and then to find a used mirror at a junk yard. He instructed me to gently take the mirror off, put drops of Gorilla Glue on the touchpoints and then secure it with duct tape. So I did.

Two months later, I got a job, but still didn't have the funds for a junk yard mirror. So the duct tape remained. Thankfully, an acquaintance asked me to write a freelance article for a trade publication. I had checked with my trusted mechanic, and the cost to buy a junk yard mirror and install it was roughly the amount I was being paid for the article.

Yesterday, Hoesley Eco Auto replaced the broken mirror with a lovely junk yard mirror that looks exactly like the old one. With the touch of a button from the driver's door, I can move the mirror and get a clear view of what's coming up behind me.

Since my Christmas Eve boo-boo, my life has improved considerably. I have a great job where I am using my writing skills, and I am valued and respected. I recently moved from the tiny one-bedroom apartment to a World War II-era duplex with charm, space and natural light. It feels like home.  Through mindful eating and paddling a dragon boat three times a week, I have lost almost 40 pounds.

 I am keeping the duct tape and Gorilla Glue because who knows when my life might need a minor repair? But for now, the view ahead and behind is promising.

No comments:

Post a Comment