The Unexpected
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
The Unexpected
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal

The past two weeks have been a strong lesson in going with the flow, taking things as they come, and dealing with the unexpected.

I bought a car for Roller Coaster Tour just 10 days before tour started. It was in the shop almost every day. Nothing major. Little, annoying things. The A/C. The ignition cylinder. The driver's side lock cylinder. I didn't think it could possibly continue so I started the tour on Saturday May 21 as planned.

Everything went well. Until it didn't.

I woke up Sunday to drive to Indiana, which was cancelled because 2 coasters were closed. Oh well, I could make that up later since Indiana isn't far from my tour end point in Ohio. So then I decided to head to Chicago where my friends The Swellers were playing a show. It was a hot day. 80F+ and sunny. The A/C broke again. Driving with the windows down is all well and good for an hour. But for 5 hours? It's not so fun. Oh well, I'd figure it out Monday morning before going to Six Flags.

Monday morning I headed to the car repair shop and they fixed the A/C for $150. As I was turning out of the repair shop my turning signals stopped working. What?! So I headed back. Estimated repair cost? $600. I had already spent $2k+ fixing the car. This was my breaking point. I called my Dad, who had offered to swap cars before the tour started, and we met on Exit 39 of I-94 in Michigan, ~200 miles from Six Flags. Thanks Dad! :)

Sunday was a wasted day. Monday was a wasted day. Finally Tuesday tour began again and things were looking up!

Unexpected Exhaustion

What I didn't expect was that driving hundreds of miles every day, going on roller coasters, and then writing about the experience would be so exhausting.

"You know what?" I thought to myself. "Don't post anything to RidiculouslyExtraordinary on Thursday. It's going to be crap because you're stressed beyond belief. Relax a bit from all these early tour SNAFUs."

And so I didn't post anything that Thursday. Even though I currently have 67 draft articles in various stages of completion and could have easily posted one of them. I decided to give The Insider's Guide To Building Your First Road Bike some extra front page exposure. As I'd determined previously, skipping one day of posting isn't a big deal. Except when one day turns into two turns into more.

Thursday came and went. And then Monday started creeping up. But I had driven 700 miles on Sunday and didn't feel like writing anything for Monday. I did have some notes from the road, but nothing coherent.

"Ehh, I'll just write tomorrow," I lied to myself. Because "tomorrow" was another 500 miles of driving and I knew I'd be exhausted. And then I remembered Monday was a US Holiday. "Ehh, don't post on a Holiday, it's not going to get any traffic. Post Tuesday instead."

"Tomorrow" is much like "some day." And we already know, based on Life Lesson #11, that some day never comes. Sure enough, Tuesday came and went.

The First Big Tour Scheduling Conflict

Yesterday (Wednesday) I headed towards Federal Way, WA and Wild Waves theme park. It was raining, but I now know that parks keep rides going unless there is lightning. I called Wild Waves about getting a free ticket and they called me back to say "Hey Karol, this sounds great, but we're not open this week." Oops! A scheduling conflict was bound to happen and I put buffer days into my schedule for such a thing, but there was no buffer for Wild Waves. I would be heading to Portland for a conference immediately after.

What did I do? No sense getting upset. "Ehh, there is nothing I can do about this now. What can I do today instead?"

"Seattle, Seattle, Seattle ... what to do in Seattle? Experience Music Project!"

As you may or may not know I started playing guitar because of two people. Kurt Cobain and Tony Iommi. The first song I ever learned was All Apologies by Nirvana, before I even owned a guitar. And so I headed to Experience Music Project, not expecting anything besides a Jimi Hendrix museum. I got there and what did I see?

What a nice, unexpected, surprise!

I already had a plan to go to Aberdeen, WA (Kurt Cobain's birthplace) on my way to Portland on Thursday. This added something a little extra to it.

The Big Takeaway

Does dealing with the unexpected make us stronger? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. It's very rare that things go as planned, but I believe everything will go exactly as I plan it anyway. There isn't much sense in expecting things to go wrong.

I don't believe in "expect the unexpected." Expecting things to go well feels better. If something goes wrong I can deal with it then, but at least my mind isn't occupied with negative "what if" scenarios.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I do know one thing. I expect everything will be just fine. ;)