How many people are really living out their Plan A in life? How many people are doing what they always planned to do, living life the way they want to, haven’t had to rebuild themselves, maybe a few times, in their life? If those people are out there, just give them time. Their Plan B is coming. Personally, I ran out of letters for the amount of backup plans I’ve had to scramble together in my life. Even if I prepare for something, it often proves to be a wasted effort.
I recently got back from a vacation that involved a two day road trip. On the way back I stayed in a hotel after about 13 hours of driving, and around 3am my insulin pump alarm woke me up saying that the pump was dead and needed a new battery. If I don’t have insulin within a couple hours, my organs will start shutting down. So I guess it was important that I change the battery, or whatever.
I had packed batteries for just such an emergency, but it turned out I had AAA when I needed AA. I was going to have to come up with Plan B. I drove through the Virginia/Tennessee border in the middle of the night by myself without a bra. To my intense relief there was a gas station down the street from the hotel and I went in.
“I’m sorry, I can’t take any customers right now, I’m doing my nightly close,” said the gas station attendant. But what if I might literally die? Sorry, won’t have registers for another 20 minutes. Oh, I am sooo going to write a blog post about this, I thought as I grudgingly started forming Plan C.
There was a Wal Mart down the street from the gas station, and while driving there I chickened out and didn’t go in. I had nothing to defend myself with, and I felt there was a distinct possibility I would need to. To keep the anxiety at bay, I did, however, speculate about what kind of people would be in a Virginia Walmart at 3am. 400lb men in motorized carts and long, unwashed hair. Shift workers buying bulk Cup O Soup, being neither terribly happy or terribly unhappy with their lives. Groups of twenty year olds with neck tattoos glistening in the methamphetamine sweat, wearing wife beaters and dirty black jeans. I get really specific with my speculations.
I asked my GPS where the next gas station was, and it said Sure I will save you! Let’s go four miles! But after 12 miles of driving through unlit woods with sketchy looking streets, I ended up on a highway and recognized my exit for the hotel. In other words, back to exactly where I started. There was the gas station I just left.
I figured I might as well go back in and see if she could unconstipate her customer service. Fortunately she could take my money that I gave her in exchange for saving my life. She went from Plan A to Plan D in a matter of 30 minutes. I went back to the hotel and changed my pump battery and got a shaky 45 minutes of sleep before I had to get up and hit the road again to come home.
The thing about losing your Plan A is that while it’s a surprise and it’s jarring, life doesn’t stop there. I don’t know how long I started at that gas station attendant with my mouth open when she told me she couldn’t help me, but also there was that thing about how I would die without making a new plan. I considered shoplifting, but I’m not that graceful and didn’t want to get arrested while not wearing a bra. So Plan B makes itself. Same with Plan C and etc.
I was anxious but didn’t panic because batteries existed somewhere, I’d find them one way or another. Another thing I have learned is that I will be okay, no matter what happens.* I’m not dead yet, and until I am I will be okay. I’ve faced my greatest fears, more than once, and I am still here. Being out of batteries in the middle of nowhere can’t scare me anymore.
*Unless it’s the zombie apocalypse, in which case I’m screwed.