Sunday, April 24, 2011

Learning how to breathe - Column from today's paper

I was rockin’ and rollin’ today — knocking out to-do list items with a vengeance, but that all came to a screeching halt when I stopped for what should have been a five-minute transaction at the Jasper Feed and Seed. 

I locked my truck and headed inside. My truck always beeps, buzzes and does everything but hit me with a jolt of electricity when I try to get out with the keys still in the ignition, but today I ignored all the warnings and waltzed inside.

The folks in the feed store filled my order within a minute or so and I headed around to the loading dock where I’d parked my truck, to pick up my feed. I reached into my pocket for my keys, but they weren’t dangling from my left pocket where I ALWAYS put them. I dug around in my other pocket, but it was empty too. When I leaned in close and peered through the glass, the keys were dangling right there in the switch.

As I stood there pondering my next move, I thought to myself – why on earth did I even lock the truck here? The people who go to Jasper Seed and Feed are farmers, hunters, gardeners and animal lovers, who are some of the most honest and trustworthy people on the planet. I’d probably have a better chance of hitting the $300 million Powerball Lottery than having anything stolen out of my truck at the Seed and Feed.

I’ve owned that truck since 2004 and I’ve never locked my keys inside — until today. I stewed a little but one of the warehouse guys stepped out to see if he could lend a hand. We noticed that my driver’s side window was cracked about a half inch — just enough to slip a wire or something inside to try and unlock the door.

He fetched a piece of stiff wire and stood on the passenger side of the truck to guide me toward the door handle. I tried for 15 minutes, and I hooked the handle several times, but I couldn’t get the door unlocked.

Then I remembered what my lovely spouse teaches in her yoga/meditation classes — just breathe. She has a great deal of experience with soldiers who are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress. She says that one of the most calming things you can do is simply breathe deeply.

So I let go of the frustration and the urge to jab the sharp end of the wire into my eye as penitence for doing something so dim witted. I stood there and took several deep breaths. When I looked inside the truck, I noticed the window handle was well within reach. 

I maneuvered the wire through the crack in the window and it slipped right around the knob. When I pulled it, the window rolled down about an inch. After a little more maneuvering, I managed to get the window down enough to squeeze my arm through and unlock the door.

I was so happy! The warehouse guy told me that a visit from the locksmith would not be cheap. Knocking off a liquor store to pay for my senior moment didn’t sound that appealing. Another contingency plan was to break a window, but then images of me driving around with duct tape on my window popped into my head.

So, tonight I gave Jilda a hug and told her thanks for teaching me how to breathe.


  1. Excellent story. Just Breathe! I always have to remember to do it. I'm so bad about holding my breath when stressed. Thanks for the reminder as well.

  2. Yay for breathing! I'd probably just burst out crying until spent and then when that's over I'd think of more practical ways to solve the problem! :-)

    Take care

  3. Spouses teach each other many good things, and you brought forth one of things your wife taught you right when you needed it. I think the natural thing to do when we panic is barely breathe, the very thing we need right then. So glad you aren't driving around with duct tape on the window.

  4. Great story. I think we can all relate as we have all, at one time or another, been there.

    Breathe. It's solid advice for just about any situation.

  5. we took a cross country vacation with the kids from Houston TX to California hitting all the stops on the way. I forget which national park parking lot we were in but when we got out we told the kids to roll up the windows and locked the car. When we got back late in the afternoon...yep, you guessed it, keys were locked in the car and so were the spares since I had decided not to take my bag with me. Fortunately, our son had failed to roll his window up all the way, had about an inch. one of the other travelers in the park happened to have a wire hanger in their trunk and with some maneuvering, we managed to get the car unlocked. what a relief as it was getting dark and we were in the middle of nowhere.

  6. Anonymous8:11 PM

    A lesson for all of us...step back from the situation and take deep breaths! If only I'd understood that when I was a young mother! "To soon old and to late smart"! Kudos to Jilda!


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