Wasn’t it Norman Cousins who, years ago, on being given a grim diagnosis of illness by his physician, went to a hotel room and holed himself up with a slew of funny movies? And he laughed himself back to health.
Since we human are the only creatures on this earth with a sense of humor, I think it imperative that we make sure we can do the same. If we can’t laugh at the tangled webs the world weaves, what can we do?
This past Sunday was a case in point. It was the annual bikathon from all the boroughs of New York, resulting in thousands of bikers going up Sixth Avenue just when I need to get to church. I know how bad it is from past experience, so I have devised a subway route that gets me across town underground. Still, I did not expect to have to yield to them on the escalators in Port Authority nor in the subway. But they were there!
I fled back upstate only to meet a traffic jam in New Paltz which slowed my bus to a pitiful crawl. When we had finally inched our way down the main street so that I could see what the problem was, it turned out to be some kind of parade, featuring horse-drawn covered wagons. I blinked twice before I laughed.
When we had finally navigated our way to a side street, we encountered the next set of wheels: 50 motorcyclists roaring past and heading straight for where I had last seen the pioneer wagons. I was sorry I could not see that rendez-vous!! However, it was fun to imagine the possible clash of sunbonnets and helmets.
My final wheelie experience was on Tuesday morning when my cab, of ancient vintage, arrived late to get me to a 5:30 AM bus. My female driver hurtled down the road to the terminal and pulled up in front of the bus, which was ready to pull out. And then, I could not open the door.. She got out and was no more successful so she frantically motioned me to slide across the seat to the other door, which proved equally resistant. Looking up, I could see the bus driver howling with laughter at my predicament. My cabbie pushed a few more buttons and I won my release!
The lesson? All these wheels – bikes, wagons, motorcyles, cabs delayed me. I could have been annoyed. Instead, I decided to treat them all with a smile and some inner laughter at least. It was a marvelous opportunity to practice some patience, to wonder at the world, and then to have a story to tell about why I was delayed. It surely beat getting angry at what could not be changed but, when I get to heaven and meet the man who invented the wheel, we shall have words!