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Cutting Losses-Unexpected Twists of Fate

September 6, 2014 ,

I like to be very punctual. It is polite, which is fine, but if one has a few extra minutes to compose oneself in any venture rather than rush, the odds improve. Leaving only the bare minimum of time for preparations of any kind seems foolish to me. I think I developed these beliefs while doing a lot of traveling around the world. There are always some unexpected time suckers in each mode of travel. In airports we are helpless if our flight is cancelled or delayed. In a car traffic can stop us in our tracks on the road. Sometimes we have no other option and must endure wasting time or spending it in ways we abhor. Today I count myself as lucky even though I have postponed a trip I looked forward to taking that will not be available again for 8 months.

We had reserved a place on the Grape Train, a wine tasting moonlight train ride on the Verde Valley Railroad. We were excited and ready to go when we found the battery in my car to be dead. I have a BMW, so the battery is hidden under the back seat and the replacement battery is not carried by everyone. We fiddled around with the car for a while, then went to a car rental agency, determined to save the weekend plans. I now feel fortunate that this agency had a very odd system that involved doing the paperwork on 5 or 6 clients before anyone was given a car. We had been processed, but as we waited for the car we did some math. We asked ourselves “What is the very last minute we can leave here and make the train on time?” We reached the conclusion that it was already the last minute, and after all this anxiety we still could miss our departure at the train depot. We thanked the inefficient clerk and cancelled the rental. It was a favor, a blessing in disguise. If they had rushed us into a rental car we would have rushed home, grabbed the bags and hit the road. By showing us what could go wrong right out of the gate, at the rental agency, these good folks saved us a high anxiety drive through Arizona with possibly disastrous results.

The moral of this story is about time. The entire drive might have turned out to be a waste of time.  I called the train company and was given an entire year to use the tickets I purchased. I also let the landlady know we were not going to be staying with her tonight and she offered to give us the night if we come later and stay for 2 nights at her place. The only “lost” money was a booking fee from Air bnb, which is fair and reasonable. I also think that we will enjoy staying for 2 nights in Clarkdale and doing the train ride when the fall colors have begun.  We were poised to have a high anxiety rush, and now we will have plenty of time at home, and after the car battery mystery has been solved we can take a more leisurely trip.  Thank you, car rental company that shall not be named, for saving our weekend plans!!

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GREAT post Pam. It’s really smart. I try to figure out what the potential is for delays too. Sometimes I am on-time or early but other times it does make sense to notify someone that I am going to be a few minutes late- particularly if it’s about 15 mins late. Here in LA there is no alternative and rather than pay for an appt…. I will show up.


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

September 7, 2014

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