I drove to Arundel yesterday to speak for the Arundel branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) at their Summer Bar-B-Q. A lively event with some very nice people. I spoke about Facebook Advertising and how clever it was getting nowadays.
It was very odd because I very strongly felt that I didn’t want to go over there without a phone (I’m a bit paranoid about driving long distance in the Merc since it was completely rebuilt a couple of years ago) and my phone got stolen off the front seat a few weeks ago when we forgot to put the windows up, after having the top down on a lovely summers day. Most uncharacteristic of me not to put it in my bag immediately but hey, ho, there you go.
I don’t go very many places, very often, using Skype and my iPad most of the time, so didn’t really miss my phone until I had to drive somewhere. Now, realising how vulnerable we feel without one, I’m buying one today. Yesterday, however, I talked Sarah (and her phone!) into coming to Arundel with me.
We got there and back without incident and parked up outside the house, going to meet my daughter Phoebe for a drink and some supper.
At about 10.45 we headed home, it being a “school night” and the eve of the Worthing & Adur Chamber Website Committee meeting, like the more sensible mature lady I am now (Sarah would never describe herself thusly as yet).
As we crossed the road, we saw a tow truck coming up the wrong end of our one-way street, followed by a police car. I remarked on that to Sarah as it was the wrong end of the street. It had a little blue or purple Ford Ka type car on the top.
When we walked down the road, Sarah noticed that it looked like something had happened to my car, indeed on closer inspection, something substantial had obviously crashed into my car, staving in the driver’s side and mashing up the rear wheel, driving the whole car against the kerb rather forcefully.
As we were standing exclaiming over the car, with all the ramifications of this incident rushing through my mind, the neighbour came out and explained that someone had indeed crashed into it. The tow truck took away the offending vehicle and the police had been on the scene, they knew the Merc was mine and were going to get in touch.
Phew, at least we knew who the perp was. Some hope of an insurance settlement at least.
The police were supposed to have put something through my door but hadn’t, so if it was not for the kind neighbour opening her door, it would have been a very worrying night.
This morning I’m facing the fact that the damage may cost more to fix than the car is worth, so I may end up with some cash but no car. That cash is actually owed to my good friend Susanne, who sold me the car on a lease-rental basis (with me paying somewhat over the odds to get a well looked after luxury car, with no credit check needed).
Because my previous bankruptcy makes it very hard to get credit of any kind, and mostly, I’m glad of that.
However, now I’m facing the reality that, unless I buy a car outright, I may not have one at all.
I’m not sure I can justify paying a big chunk of cash out right now for ANY car as I really only drive it once a week or so. When I go to London, I go on the train (and hate it). When I go to seminars or conferences, however, I do love to drive so that I can leave whenever I like.
For the amount a car costs me to run, and the total use I get out of it, I could just as easily get taxis and trains.
But… and here’s where the mind control bit comes in…
Being without a car makes me feel poor, I discovered, the last two times I didn’t have one.
I loved having a really nice car too, so I don’t WANT to just buy an old banger. I don’t really want to spend a few grand on a car when I don’t know its history either. I knew Susanne had really looked after the Merc.
In the same way that I’ve been holding out, trying to convince myself I could bring myself to use another phone apart from an iPhone.
(As it turns out, my niece has a brand new iPhone in a box she’s willing to sell me for less than I could buy one on Amazon secondhand, so that’s a result).
Lots of feelings swirling round here… did you notice?
Where do all those feelings come from?
Feelings come from the meaning we give to things.
Bad feelings mean we are attaching meanings to events, other people’s actions, things, the weather, random acts of whatever. Good feelings mean we are attaching meanings that make us feel good.
If the prospect doesn’t call you back after a great presentation, do you call them, knowing they have probably just been busy, or do you not call them because you feel bad because you think they obviously didn’t like you, didn’t like your presentation, have been poached by another company…
If the boy doesn’t text you after what you thought was a great date, does it mean he hates you or just lost his phone?
According to my mentor, who is very keen on all this stuff, man (and woman) is a meaning-attaching machine, it seems. We attach personal meaning to random events and, it turns out in my case, objects.
The silver convertible Mercedes with the wood effect interior made me FEEL good. I would never have imagined when I was younger that I would own or drive a car like that.
It looked good, it smelt good, it was always tidy & clean inside, it drove nicely, and I loved the fun of taking the top down when the sun shone. It made me feel younger than my 50 *cough* something years. Call me a mid-life crisis in progress if you must.
When it got totalled just 6 months after getting it, I worked hard on not getting upset because it could have been so much worse – nobody got hurt, it got fixed, I had another car to drive in the meantime. I wrote about that battle to control my mind back then too.
Why am I struggling around the iPhone? It’s four times as expensive as some other options but oh! how it makes my life easier because it syncs up with all my gadgets effortlessly. I can iMessage my kids and I love the way it looks and feels.
It makes me feel not only more efficient, but COOL.
It’s a pleasure to look at, touch, and use, and such is the effectiveness of Apple’s marketing, nothing else will do for me now.
I caught myself ruminating this morning on the fact that I’d had a feeling I shouldn’t go to Arundel without a phone in case “something happened”. We drove around twice before deciding on that parking spot, no better one being available. Not so “better” as it turned out. Was the accident partly my “fault” because I chose to park there?
Ruminating means going over and over the same thoughts and, that way, all sorts of bad feelings lurk in wait.
Thoughts were popping into my head like “that car seems jinxed” and “you should never have bought it, you didn’t need it, the universe or whatever is punishing /testing you”…
Where do these RIDICULOUS thoughts come from? I don’t believe in fate or luck, I don’t really feel like I should be punished, and I’ll bloomin’ well pass every test eventually. WTF?
So I’ve been working very hard to catch all these potentially negative thoughts as they pop into my head and to change them into positives or, at the very least, turn them into neutral thoughts.
Not to project ahead, predict negative outcomes, catastrophise in any way.
The key question to ask yourself, in the moment, when you are feeling bad or worrying about things is…
Am I all right, right now, right this second?
Yes, I am. I wasn’t in the car, nobody got hurt, the car is off the single yellow line, in a convenient space that opened up this morning, just in front of my house, that won’t attract a ticket until PC Whatsit comes on duty at 4pm and can divulge to me the other party’s details.
I am insured, hopefully they will be too… Perhaps it will cost less than the value of the car to fix, so they may not write it off.
If they do write it off, I’ll simply give the money to Susanne (which would help her as she’s been sick) and I will take taxis and trains until I have a big enough surplus of cash to buy a really nice car outright.
Because my car does NOT define me. I will change the context of the meaning I have attached to that car, and that context will be that I’m a canny lass who does not need objects to make me feel good.
I’m being deliberately frugal until I feel the time is right to treat myself – in cash – to a really nice…
Audi S5 Cabriolet perhaps!
And in the meantime, my new iPhone will arrive today, so at least I’ll be able to call a bloomin’ taxi!