The unusual noise came from my van's muffler. The noise meant an opportunity to visit the muffler shop I pass every day. Visiting a muffler shop is not as bad as visiting the dentist, so Yeah. But the anticipation is so completely grey and unspectacular, which is why I was surprised to find myself enjoying it. I only wished the work would have required more time. Finished already, are you sure?
By the way, where I live could be described as one of those towns that you pass through and wonder who'd choose to live there. Forgettable. And since I excel at forgetting, it often feels like home sweet home. No, I often do not paint my immediate Texas surroundings. I opt instead for fleeting glimpses along migratory journeys thru a perpetual "elsewhere". I live here and separate my life and work. Don't ask me any more.
When I stepped into the muffler office to pay I took notice of two things: Gilligan's Island on the television and prominently displayed photos of family athletes. I chose to ask the clerk about the photos. She described with excitement the prospects for her son's upcoming senior year baseball team. A new coach. How her son has played since age 4. Where he'll attend college. His brothers and sisters and their interests as well. And maybe more.
This is the type of experience where externally I am occupied, as if I were buckled into a seat on a plane along for the ride with a programmed destination. In this case, my muffler is being repaired and I must sit here and wait. Because the "what am I supposed to do right now" is hushed, I can more simply enjoy being.
As I drove my van out of the muffler shop, the repairman said, "thank you, good man". It was the single most enjoyable muffler repair I'd ever had. And I look forward to my next visit. Note: this muffler shop probably exists in your town too. If not, I recommend doing multiple laundry loads at a laundromat or waiting in a long checkout line at your grocer.
This entry is in honor of Oliver Sacks and Wayne Dyer.