Last week, I got stuck behind an iron gate in a car for an hour. I was driving a Toyota Rav 4 rental car in Los Angeles. My brother-in-law Joe sat in the front passenger seat and my sisters Lucille and MaryAnn were in the back. We’d just driven from the airport. We’d come from New York to surprise my son, Michael, for his 30th birthday.
The Air BnB owners had given clear instructions about where to park the car (get lockbox key, go to apartment, get remote garage opener and drive to lower level). Only I hadn’t read the instructions through and when a car pulled out behind the first level gate, I scooted in before the gate closed, thinking I was a slick New Yorker, taking advantage of an opportunity to expedite my end, which was to park quickly and make it to the surprise party on time.
So, I retrieved the garage opener from the apartment fully confident it would open the gate and we’d zoom to the lower level, go back upstairs, shower, change, and make the party on time. Only the garage opener didn’t work. No matter which part of the iron gate I pointed to, that gate was secure and not going anywhere. We soon realized you needed a first level remote opener to come and go through the gate. We had the lower level opener.
What now? Well, first we all laughed. A lot. Then every time a resident came I’d flag him or her down, begging for help! One person gave me the phone number of the management. Then I texted the Air B n B owners. Then we sat and waited. An hour. We waited an hour for a driver, in a Chevy truck, who had remote access to the gate to pull in. At this point, Joe was behind the wheel and pulled out so quickly that the driver looked at us incredulously. He had no idea we had waited an hour for an opportunity to escape and we weren’t squandering it!
What does this all have to do with anything? Well, what do you do when you’re powerless? When your best thinking doesn’t amount to anything? When you want to cry or scream but it does no good. Sometimes you just have to wait. Quietly. At some point, something will change. Sometimes you just have to wait.
My memoir, Bankruptcy: A Love Story, launches June 6th. It took five years to write; one year to rewrite; and three years to publish. I’ve waited a long time.