drunk man travels well

After the frustration, then anger, than doubt and some tears, something else has to win.
The reality of traveling demands one simply succumbs. I have been reminding myself of the drunk driver who survives the lamppost simply because he is drunk. Yes it is an ugly secret that doesn’t get public service announcements or after-school specials, but the intoxicated person stays fluid, never stiffening, never resisting. That is how the human body survives a devastating impact. It seems so unfair that the cause of the crash itself can have any redemption.
It may not be a sacred totem, or a spirit animal, ancient god or Buddhist mantra but I tell myself, “be like the drunk in the crash”. Okay for a more nuanced view I can tap into my experience in Al-Anon, in which we repeat the serenity prayer until it syncs up with our breath. The slogans remind us to Let Go and Let God, to forgo any attachment to control. Prayer, meditation, the monks and the minions – all practice what it means to live in the moment and move with the flow of the river.
But I like the vision of the drunk man tossed about in his car, the metal and engineering collapsing, the mind blank, but the body in the rhythm necessary to survive.
One time a young dog stole my passport. I was on the Northern coast of Peru and noticed as I prepared my things for the flight the next day. I panicked, my friend took me to file a report at the police station, “another gringa who drank too much and was so stupid” is the file where my paperwork was placed. I spent the evening researching the embassy, the procedures for a temporary passport, the costs, the price, and the options.
I turned on the pricey cellular data on my phone to call my parents, who were uncharacteristically panicked by the news. I was not new to traveling in foreign lands, but this was the first time I had lost a critical document. My dad called one of those emergency recovery organizations, which quickly dismissed my father’s concerns after they realized I was thirty years old, was well trained in traveling, and had not be mugged, mutilated, kidnapped, or ransomed.
Once I constructed a plan, I relaxed, I paid for two extra nights in the bungalows, I bought a new airplane ticket, I decided I would have to take a less expensive bus for 17 hours back to Lima, and could then arrive at the embassy right as it opened. Did the panic help me make the best plan? Was there another option clouded by the adrenaline? Have I paid off that credit card charge for that last-minute ticket? For those questions I have no answers.
But remember this started with a puppy? Well I decided to take more walks around the property, with my eyes open but no expectations. In the afternoon sun I found a stash of stolen things stolen – a flip flop, a bathing suit bottom, a towel, a laundry bag, sticks, and atop the pile the item he most recently grew bored of – my passport.
I do remember the 17 hour bus ride; it was pleasant, almost joyful because the toddler in the seat in front of me was happy to be distracted by my funny faces and games of peek-a-boo. At the airport I still had to run for my flight due to a government stamp necessary for exit. I don’t know what seat number I got, or what kind of seatmate I was stuck with, I don’t remember the beer brand popular in Peru.
I offer that you find your own way to be the drunk, to stay as flexible, pliable, and in any moment be the body thrown around a mangled pile of metal.

to fail or not to fail, what is your response

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