"Goals are dreams with deadlines" -- Diana Scharf

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"A" for Effort; "F" for Execution

This is a post in which I fail miserably at a task that doesn’t really relate to personal finance. 
In which I miss the train due to lemming-like behavior.  Here is how the story unfolded:
I can either drive or take the train to work.  There are pros and cons to each method of transportation.  On days when I take the train, I make an effort to dress appropriately, given that my office is ten minutes away from the train station and a portion of the route is unpaved.  On Thursday, I dressed in my standard commuter uniform of ballet flats, wrap dress, and a warm, unfussy coat.  I packed the New York Times in my computer bag so I would have reading material.  All was progressing according to plan.  I felt proud of myself for being so prepared (whenever I start to feel too smug, we know things are about to go downhill). 
I drove into the parking structure twelve minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive, thinking about all the wonderfully efficient things I could do during my 30 minutes on the train: Read the newspaper! Compose a blog post! Write an email to my cousin!  Decide what to make for dinner tomorrow!  Be a productive and conscientious member of society! (clearly, I have low standards for what constitutes productivity and conscientiousness.)  
Unfortunately, I was stuck behind an out-of-state driver who was perplexed by the train station parking structure.  I found myself getting more and more frustrated by the glacial pace at which this person was driving.  Did he not realize that this was a train station?  That it was rush hour?  That the train was scheduled to arrive and depart at a specified time, now a mere seven minutes away?  I seethed inwardly with mounting irritation, while continuing to follow the confused driver in search of empty parking spaces. 

And then, he accidentally turned down the exit lane.  And before I realized what I was doing, I had followed him.  A classic case of the blind leading the blind, right off a cliff.  Once I’d made this wrong turn, there wasn’t any option except to exit the parking structure completely.  The voice inside my head, which sounds suspiciously like Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, screamed, “WHAT?! YOU LEMMING! You knew he didn’t know where he was going, but you were distracted and followed him anyway! No train for you!”

At this point, there wasn’t time to re-enter the parking structure and park my car before the train’s arrival.  And the next train wouldn’t arrive in time for me to get to work by 9:00.  My only choice was to drive.

If my husband were narrating, this is the point at which something exciting and interesting would happen: he would become the subject of a high-speed chase.  Or, the automobile would transform into a spaceship and he would save civilization from an alien invasion.  Or, he would discover Spanish galleons in his glove compartment (why does he always store money in there, anyway?).  He’s a much more imaginative storyteller than I am.  Plus, he drives a Honda, for which all of those scenarios seem plausible.  But this isn’t his story.  Instead, I just drove to work in my 2002 Volvo, not having an opportunity to read the Times or write to my cousin.  An inefficient contributor to greenhouse gasses, but with better intentions.  I give myself an “A” for effort, but an “F” for execution.

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