When I was 17 years old, I was arrested when for underaged drinking at Ann’s Rib Shack in north Mississippi. I was taken to the Hernando DeSoto County Jail where I was placed in a cell with another offender. Me cell mate was incarcerated for possession of marijuana. He was serving a 90 day sentence. I asked him what he planned to do when he was released. His response was, “I’m going to roll a joint and smoke it.” Though his activity choice was dubious, he was getting back on the horse, or not giving up.
I just returned to Memphis again for a couple of repairs. Yesterday I decided that it would be reasonable to drive my rig around the city to run errands. I was wrong. When parallel parking, my awning struck a telephone pole that I didn’t see. The pole survived just fine but the extension arms for my awning were smashed. I was ready to throw in the towel. The internal messages that I heard included, “I’ve aged out of driving a motorhome that requires hyper vigilance,” “I’m an accident waiting to happen,” and “This is too hard.”
Ultimately I heard the wiser voice beneath the mental noise of the moment. It said, “Get back on the horse.” Mistakes are not character defects. My action of striking the pole was an unintentional error. I made light of it by telling someone that the pole jumped out at the side of my rig, and that I’d planned to enter a plea of innocence. State Farm Insurance will unquestionably enjoy my plea and take mercy upon me by not inflating my rates once the damage amount is tallied. At the time of the event I was psychically reduced to pulp. The magnitude of the injury was far greater for me than either the telephone pole or State Farm.
Today I got back behind the wheel and drove my rig to Southaven for its repairs. I experienced sweat droplets and a quivering lip, but I made it. I have a rig mentor that I call at times like these so I can process the experience out loud. He and I discussed options including trading my vehicle in for a smaller unit that wouldn’t be as wide. We discussed my purchase of a small Jeep that I could pull behind my rig. It would enable me to easily run errands, drive to trail heads without concern for parking or turning around, or banging into telephone poles, and sightsee if that tickled my fancy. At the moment, I’ll do nothing more than put my derailment behind me and get back on the horse. The cure for my situation isn’t rolling and smoking a joint like my cell mate from fifty years ago, but to parallel park with allowance and awareness for my awning that sticks out four inches off the side of my vehicle. And I’ll be on the outlook for moving telephone poles. My next repair trip will restore my awning to good as new. I welcome the day when my calendar is without a scheduled repair.
Getting back on the horse is the antidote to this momentary fracture in the amenities of my life on the road.