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Change of plans

March 27, 2012

I woke last Friday and – as is my usual morning ritual – started the day with a list.

  1. Cycle 20 miles
  2. Tailors
  3. Home Depot
  4. Edit
  5. And more

As I pedaled into my first ride of the season, my back feeling better, my mind released its hold of my To Dos and I relaxed into the seat. Cyclists passed and we exchanged knowing smiles. This was heaven. At the six-mile mark my back tire felt funny. I looked down. Pancake. After unfastening my pump – which I’d never used before – it didn’t fit. My heart sank. A cyclist stopped and handed me his. When the tire was almost full, it deflated. He wished me luck and rode off along the path that snakes behind homes, parks, rivers and a golf course. Glorious sights really, unless you get a flat.

As luck would have it, there was a window manufacturing shop nearby. Inside it was filled with wood, machinery and half-built windows. A man stopped what he was doing and tried to help. His name was Daniel.

“Let me take your bike next door,” Daniel said. “They may have something.”

And I let him.

My phone was on the bike, as well as my car keys, but I went with it. Then an older man with an Irish accent entered. The owner, Joe Doherty. We chatted. Hearing I was a writer, he took me back to his office – which looked like how an office would look if it had been through a tornado – to show me a New York Times article about Precision Windows, his business. Back in the shop Daniel handed me the tubing he’d rigged to the pump and said, “It’s no use. There’s a hole.”

I thanked Daniel and asked about a nearby taxi. But Mr. Doherty wouldn’t hear of it. As he drove me to my car, he told me about his kids and his patented windows.

After he dropped me at my car I drove to the bike store.

“You need new tires,” the bike repairman said. Not something I’d planned for. While they replaced my tires, I went to Home Depot, then grabbed a salad and edited a story. Two things at least, crossed off my list.

After collecting my bike, I planned to head back to the city to get more done. But when the bike salesman said, “Enjoy your ride, it’s a beautiful day,” I changed plans. Back on the path I soon found myself smiling again, even with no one passing.

We don’t plan for flat tires, missed planes or even divorces, but it’s how we cope with these unplanned derailments that are the real accomplishments. Instead of getting upset about the flat and loss of time, I focused on what I’d gained. I met new people, enjoyed a fabulous ride, and had my faith in humanity restored knowing there are folks willing to stop what they’re doing to help someone in need.

As for the To Dos I didn’t get to? There’s always tomorrow’s list.

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11 Comments
  1. Awesome post! I love the line from John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy”: Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans….

  2. Diann Buro permalink

    so, written lists are, to me, an indication of where our minds go and our heart doesn’t agree. Once set in motion the universe knows where we will go, the true essence of happiness is going with the flow.
    so spring sets the flow of the waters in motion from the mountain tops to the seas, metaphysically the waters reside in our hips, and reproductive area of our body, when the spring arrives those waters flow and creation occurs, such as your insight , an old idea resurfacing, the fruition of a new love…… blessing my friend are everywhere…..
    with love,
    Diann b.

  3. Iona permalink

    really enjoyed it. The silver lining in the cloud.

  4. anne asher permalink

    Great story but I thought that perhaps you would get a project helping the window man organize his office.

  5. Brad Haschka permalink

    An unexpected event equals new friends.

  6. Joy in a flat???? who Knew?

  7. Lorraine C Dunnett permalink

    Wonderful post ! SO true. We need more of going with the flow!

  8. Jim Kirstein permalink

    You wrote that when you got on your bike “my mind released its hold of my To Do’s and I relaxed into the seat” is one of the best observations of what bicycle riding does for a person that I have ever read. You really nailed it! Thanks.

  9. Going with the flow has always been my biggest obstacle. I usually fight my way through just about everything. It may be reminiscent of my childhood with my three brothers. They were always such a challenge.

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