Sometimes you really can turn a piece of coal into a diamond. It just requires a little work.
This last Sunday, I left St. Louis for a month in Chicago. I am starting job training for my new position teaching high school English at one of the lower-achieving St Louis public school, courtesy of Teach for America (more on this in another post).
One I had been on the road for a little over three hours, I noticed that the road started feeling a lot rougher. Being naive, and probably a little sleep-deprived, I chalked it up to rough roads and my beat-up car. At one point, I had gotten it going over 85 miles per hour and I simply figured that I had pushed it too hard. Silly me.
About two hours out of Chicago, I knew that something was up, especially when I started seeing pieces of black debris flying by the corner of my eye. Calmly, I pulled over to the smell of burning rubber and saw that my rear driver’s side tire was shredded.
No problem, I thought to myself. I may be a city-slicker, but I can change a damn tire. So, I rummaged through my trunk to find the…lack of a spare. Problem.
So, I climbed back in my car and called AAA. “We will have a tow truck out there within an hour,” the woman on the other end told me, after she tried to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to find any place open on Sunday (Thank you, Walmart!).
I had an hour on my hands and four pipes sitting right next to me, which I had brought to keep me sane during my time at job training. So, I pulled out a black sandblasted Rubens Rhodesian, packed it full of the re-release of Balkan Sobranie, and started making the best of my time. With that pipe, a radio special on philosophy and psychology, and some surprisingly beautiful scenery for Nowhere, Il., I managed to make the best of that hour. Not only did I make the best of it, but it ended up being one of the most pleasant piping experiences in recent memory.
The point of this story is to remind you to step back from an otherwise irritating situation and find the best. It is there, even if you have to search a little to find it.