I have this thing now: I carry around my toothbrush in my purse, everywhere I go. It’s because I’ve got adult braces and I’m totally self conscious about it when I eat out.
This past Saturday I went out for lunch with a friend of mine. I was enjoying a delicious grilled salmon with sweet potato fries outside of my favorite bistro in Brickell.
The sun was out, the breeze was just right and the timing was basically perfect to wrap up lunch and then have a quick photo shoot along the busy sidewalks of downtown Miami.
Just before sitting down for lunch, I had struggled to find parking near the restaurant. I went around the block a couple of times with no luck. I decided that in order to not be too late for lunch I would park my car in a questionable side of the street in plain sight of the table where we would be sitting.
(I kinda looked for a problem huh? Haha… it’s my wild side!)
Mind you, it’s my favorite bistro… I’ve done this before. Maybe I just hadn’t done it on a Saturday afternoon right at the beginning of spring break. Ha!
During our meal we kept a look-out for the car just in case anyone would notice that it was indeed wrongfully parked.
My faithful Corolla just sat there waiting for us while we indulged in yummy food and conversation. Occasionally, we would look back and wave at it like saying, “You’re good, you’re still there.”
When we finished, I told my friend I was going to quickly go inside and brush my teeth before the photo shoot. We believe it was then when the worst happened. My car got towed.
I walked out of the restaurant onto the patio and glanced at the street corner where my car once hung out proudly… but it was empty. No car. My heart dropped to my stomach.
Have you ever seen somebody freak out in public?
The other day I was at the mall when I suddenly heard this gut-wrenching screams of a mother yelling “Tommy! Tommy! Tommy!” Her little boy was just on the other side of a clothes rack, but it’s the feeling of expecting the worst that gets us so hyped up.
Here’s a fun fact about me: I don’t freak out in public. I freak out calmly, on the inside. On the outside I keep a cool head and I’m analyzing the situation.
I’m a problem solver by nature so here are the two things that crossed my mind immediately after my car went missing:
Who took my car? Ha!
How much is this going to cost me?
I had to answer these in chronological order. A lady inside told us that we had to call the police and they would tell us what towing company took my car. We did that.
The problem was that the crime against my bank account had just taken place minutes before so my car wasn’t even in the system yet. The operator told me to give it some time and call back in order to give it time to appear in the logs.
Guess what I decided we would do while we waited?
Of courssssseeeee, we were gonna have this photo shoot!
I mean, this little diversion was going to cost me a heavy penny either way so might as well take advantage of the golden sun that was peeking through the buildings just past 5pm.
I laugh now because when I look at the pictures I took gracefully holding my phone beside me, it wasn’t because I was using it as a prop. It was because I had either 911 or the towing company on speaker phone while I posed for my friend Krizia.
WHY LET IT STILL MY JOY
About 20 minutes later, we found the location of my car. Thankfully it was not too far away. I also found out it was going to cost me $157 for the thieves to give it back to me.
We grabbed a cup of coffee to finish capturing some shots for my “Coffee & Conversation” promos and then we requested an uber.
My friend told me she was impressed that I didn’t let the event ruin the afternoon. I mean, yea, I wish it would not have happened. I can buy a lot of outfits with $157! But would pouting about it change it? No. So why let it steal my joy?
Instead, problem-solve and continue with life.
TIPS FOR PROBLEM-SOLVING UNDER STRESS
1. Anticipate an inconvenience.
I was actually very proud of myself in the middle of the crisis because I was prepared. I believe it’s baby-set #1 of Financial Peace University that says to have your emergency fund set aside. This being at least $1,000 that just sit there for nothing other than a rainy day.
Do you not have an emergency fund? Here’s a crazy idea! Don’t spend your stimulus check.
Yeap, it may sound ill-conceived but you will thank yourself the next time you actually do have an emergency and it will without a doubt keep you from losing your cool under the stress.
When I was paying the guy at the tow place there was a gentleman behind me who looked rather upset. “You got towed too, huh?” I asked as if we were long time buddies. “Yea, from Miami Beach.” He answered. “Brickell”, I replied, “it sucks to have to pay.”
That’s the moment when I realized we were coming from two completely different places. “Yea, this took my entire paycheck,” he said disappointed, “I just want to go home and sleep.”
I don’t know all the details of his story but I do know one thing: I’m a single mom on a teacher salary. I’m not different because I’m rich. I’m different because I anticipated an inconvenience.
2. But did you die?
LOL Ya’ll this is the truth. The ultimate consequence is death. If you didn’t die… there’s going to be tomorrow. So just ask yourself that question, take a couple of minutes to let the crisis sink in and then problem-solve. Unless it is a life-or-death situation (like I absolutely think it was for the mom at the mall for about 1 minute), then just break it down into a couple of questions and work your way through them. By the way, this will make you look so good when you have to do it in front of your boss at work. Get your raise homie!
I always enjoy reminding you that this is all a journey lived day-by-day and moment-by-moment so go out there and create a life you love… a life by YOU!