We were out with friends for dinner and a show and I had just dropped the other three passengers at the door to the concert venue. I whipped my car around the block and into a narrow parking garage.
I tried the top story first, but there was no parking left there, so I gently maneuvered back down to the second level. As I turned from the ramp, I misjudged the amount of deterioration on the concrete ledge and the front end of the car took a small drop and smacked the floor below.
Immediately, the car became the loudest vehicle I have ever controlled. The noise was scary and deafening as it reverberated off the surrounding walls of the parking structure.
As terrible as that sound was that evening, I sometimes wish social missteps came with a similar announcement of arrival.
The thing about a deafening roar coming from under my car? I can’t avoid taking it to a professional to get it fixed.
The thing about doing or saying the wrong thing to family, friend or foe? Sometimes I don’t realize (or don’t want to admit) the damage I’ve caused until I have driven around for another week or two.
The moment I heard that sound emanating from under the hood, I had one wish:
“I wish I could rewind time about ten seconds.” I might have even said that out loud.
There are plenty of times I have had that reaction and looked back later with nostalgia on the moments before the mistake happened.
“Oh boy! Those were the good old days,” I will say to myself.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a time machine. And neither do you.
But the truth of the matter is that using a time machine would cause other problems (and not just the Back to the Future screwball types of problems.)
If I erased cracking my catalytic converter on that parking garage floor, I’d never have gone to the mechanic who then found several other semi-serious issues under the hood that needed to be addressed. Sure – it wasn’t a financially painless way to figure out problems, but it made my car much higher performing.
It is the same for those stupid things I sometimes say or do. That miscalculation or assumption I made. The terrible phrasing I utilized which “I didn’t mean THAT way.”
We sometimes want to focus on the moment we messed up. But really, we should be concerned about the moment right after. That is when the sports cars get separated from the hoopties.