When You Don’t End Up Where You Set Out to Go
“Do you want to go to the reservoir with us tomorrow?” a cute Dominican friend asks me, as I struggle to keep up with her rapid Spanish.
“¡Claro que si!” I reply.
“Great! Can you drive?”
Shoot. I don’t own a car. When I need to, I borrow my roommate’s CRV, but he left on his motorcycle a few hours earlier to go camping. He won’t have cell service and won’t be back for two days.
“¡Si!” I reply simply. My Spanish is not very good yet. I can’t easily explain that I’ll have to borrow my roommate’s car without asking. But she’s cute; better to ask forgiveness than permission, right?
I show up early in the morning at the same time as a few more of her friends who are joining us in a four wheeler and a dune buggy. A few cousins, aunts, and a small child fill up the CRV. I can’t follow the rapid-fire Spanish conversation, but I catch “Vamos!” Let’s go!
We start off on the 45 minute drive through bumpy mountain roads. I’m trying to keep up with the two vehicles in front. How do Dominicans drive so fast on these roads?
We’re headed up the side of a mountain half way to the reservoir, when all of the sudden, the rattle of the CRV’s questionable suspension becomes a much more violent vibration and the car slides off to the side of the road and comes to a halt.
I get out and take a look. Both front wheels are pointed inward. We’re not going anywhere. I learned the word for “tow truck” the day before.
“Does anyone know a grúa we can call?”
It’s Sunday. All of the shops are closed. We’re going to be here for awhile.
I sit down on the side of the road and start to feel bad about borrowing my roommates car without asking. I feel bad that everyone was excited to go to the reservoir and now we’re stuck on the side of a hot, dusty, country road for the rest of the day. I’m about to get ticked at the whole situation.
“You want some cookies?” I hear, as I start forming apologies in my head. I look up to see a six year old grinning and waving cookies at me while everyone else is sitting in the shade by the side of the road, getting drinks out of the cooler, enjoying the day as if nothing happened. No apologies necessary.
The cow pasture we’re next to isn’t the exciting destination I had in mind. But my Dominican friends didn’t even seem to notice. They realized something that I didn’t at first;
The destination isn’t the point. The point is the journey you’re on, and the people you’re with.
Eventually, several hours later, a tow truck came, and I was able to get the CRV fixed before returning it to my roommate, but lesson learned;
Life is chaotic. You don’t always end up where you had set out to go. Stop and look who is beside you on the road or you might miss the point.
And don’t borrow your roommate’s car without asking.