Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Is it a Good Week or a Bad Week?

I talk a lot about the idea of good and bad - that there is never one without the other – and the idea of inclusion of this and that, as opposed to this or that. I say that everything that we call ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is determined by perspective alone, and that every perspective is true.

Today I am backing that theory up in a small way.

I am having a week.

Is it a good week, or a bad week?

It started with one event: my refrigerator died.

(Coincidentally – or not, it was the same day we got our first real snowstorm. We got a foot of snow, and yes, I’d just gone grocery shopping that morning.)

Saturday night around 1:00 a.m. I smelled smoke in my kitchen – not a lot, just a faint smell. It took me a while to figure out where it was coming from, but eventually I did see it coming from the back of the refrigerator where the wires meet the compressor. I unplugged it immediately. At a more normal hour of 8:00 a.m. I called my father (an electrician) to ask for help/advice. I also contacted a few friends nearby. The conclusion was the same: get a new one.

My dead Sears refrigerator was 19 years old, and even Sears couldn’t find any documentation of it to get the specs – and I had no idea about refrigerator sizes. It took a couple of hours to make a purchase (with help from a number of people), then it was a 24-hour wait to be notified of delivery – which hasn’t happened yet and won’t occur until this coming Sunday, still 4 days away.

It is Wednesday. My refrigerator died Saturday night and I won’t have one again until Sunday.

Bad week?

Well, let’s break it down:

It was 1 in the morning, and I was just locking up and turning off all of the lights to go to sleep when I smelled the faint smoke.

·         I had a pork roast in the crock pot all day*, and I just extinguished the incense I had burning in one room and the strongly scented candle I had in the kitchen. How lucky was I to able to notice the smoke smell?

*N.B. I only told you about that because it was pertinent to the story. I don’t cook!

·         It was very late; I should have been in bed already, but I wasn’t.

·         Because of the snowstorm, I was able to put my perishables outside.

·         If I cooked like the real Italian they tried to raise me to be, my refrigerator would have been FULL, and this would have been a real loss of food. But I’m not, and it wasn’t.

I called my father for help. Dad lives 40 miles away Lynn, and was unable to come out  - not just because he has a life and his own responsibilities, either; snowstorm, remember?

·         We were able to VIDEO CHAT. I got down on the floor behind the refrigerator and was able to show him what was going on. He was able to show me what parts to check and to remove (and how to remove them). We saw the beginnings of flames when I plugged it back in for a moment.

·         I was able to contact my friends over the internet. The snowstorm didn’t stop me from getting help.

It’s been inconvenient to have to go outside for the milk every time I made myself a cup of coffee (if you know me, you know that happens a lot) – especially since I had to keep getting dressed and putting my boots on to go out. I complain about snow and cold weather all the time. All. The. Time. But, because it was cold, taking care of my food wasn’t a problem for the first three days. I didn’t even have to buy ice. The snow and cold that I complain about has been a benefit to me.

Today, the temperature went up to 60 degrees. 60 degrees on January 11! The sun is shining brilliantly and it melted almost ALL of the snow! Do you know how happy that would normally make me? This is a GOOD thing to me, normally -

 - but not this week! My milk is outside!

But I still don’t even have to buy ice, because there has been enough snow left to put in my coolers (again, the amount of food that I have to worry about keeping is probably less than most people – so it’s good that I don’t cook).

Like everything else that happens with us that interferes with routine, this will still work out in the end. And like I’m noticing more and more, there are many good things that make me notice things as ‘less’ bad than I may once have thought. Soon, I will once again be able to get milk without needing to bundle up to get it, and I will continue to not cook. More than likely, I will consider the 60-degree days something to celebrate, and bitch when the temperature drops below 30 – because my perspective will be different.

The bottom line is that things like this happen. Technically, the expectance of a happening will lessen any effect of that particular event, and it truly is our perspective that determines how ‘bad’ it is. When our refrigerator, washer, dryer … coffee machine … any appliance or thing finally breaks, our first reaction is surprise, either because the item may be somewhat new or because it wasn’t on our mind to worry about it – but think about this: we know that everything we purchase has a shelf life, and that it won’t last forever; therefore, the fact that it did break should never be a surprise. We should never feel ‘unprepared’ for it, because we know in advance.

Of course, timing plays into our reaction of an event, too. I could have gone back two weeks for this particular discourse to outline another event that happened last week that actually had an impact on my first reaction of this Refrigerator Event, but it would basically reiterate the bottom line.

Then again, too, even the timing of an event should be expected, technically. We all know that something will happen, and we know that we don’t know when. Ergo, no real surprise there, either. 

When you purchase any item, the warranty only lasts for so long – there’s a reason for that.

What does this tell us? My Refrigerator Event showed me that there are things that happen that I normally consider to be good things that were not so good for me this week, and that some things I would consider to be bad were actually to my benefit. Good and bad at the same time. This and that. Think about how many things we know will happen, even if we don’t know exactly when they will happen.

My week has been full of consistent inconveniences that all stemmed from one event. I could whine that this is and will continue to be a shitty week until I get my new refrigerator. That’s what we do; we let one thing upset everything else and color our opinions of all surrounding events. We piss and moan when things don’t go ‘smoothly’. In fact, if I told you my events of the past two weeks, you might consider this event just more of the “it’s always something” lament, right?

It is. But we know that.

Be aware of the good; know that it is always present, even when all you can see is the bad. Enjoy the good everywhere you find it - and make sure to look for it when it is not obvious to you.

Appreciate it. Appreciate all things. Take nothing for granted.

Remember, if it weren’t for the bad, we would never be able to see the good.

It’s a good week.