Thursday, August 13, 2009

The road taken (or not)

Okay, so this post isn't about training for marathons, or nutrition, or balance...but it is about life and choice, and I feel compelled to write about it, so here goes.

Last evening I came home from work at 7 pm and was about to sit down for dinner but my parents had already left - they were watching the kids for us yesterday. I would have wanted to have dinner with them but it seems they wanted to get home before nightfall. Seeing as Chantal and the girls had already eaten, I told Chantal that CHOM was doing movies in the park and that our friend, Kim, would be there. They could have ice cream and I could get some free hotdogs, or we could just ask Kim to come to our house.

We called Kim to see if she would drop by our place before or after the flic...Kim said she would drop by on her way if she had time (she had to be at the opening at 8 pm), and asked me for directions to the park. I joked that it wasn't necessary if she was coming to our house first but then I gave her the directions to Thompson Park. We were not really inclined to go to the show which is why we wanted Kim to drop by. It was almost the girls' bedtime, they were already bathed and in their PJs, Chantal and the girls were planning to drive up north early the next morning, and she was tired too. As we waited for Kim to arrive, we got the girls dressed. Soon enough, it was ten to eight and Kim still hadn't shown up...I called her husband to see if he had her cell phone number so we could find out where she was and then we tried reaching her. No answer on her cell. We figured she was running late. A moments hesitation - should we go or not? Seeing as we wanted to see Kim and her beautiful daughter, we decided to head out to the park. A decision; a path taken.

We told our girls we were going for only a few minutes to say hi and maybe have an ice cream. As we were about to head out, Chantal tripped and banged her knee on the stairs - she saw stars. Another moment of hesitation, should we go or not. Forget icing the knee; let's go. Another decision (maybe a sign too), a path taken.

I had unlocked the front door with my keys in anticipation of Kim's arrival, and they were still in the deadbolt, so I grabbed Chantal's SUV keys and put the girls in their car seats. Normally we don't take the SUV for short jaunts because it is brand new and we don't want to use it if we don't have to. My car is older and we don't care about putting mileage on it. Once again, a small decision - a path taken.

We drove to Thompson park and found kids playing soccer games - no Movies in the Park. Must be at another park...While we were in the parking lot, we put CHOM 97.7 fm on the radio and caught the tail end of the spot publicising the event - I was sure I heard Thompson but it was impossible. Maybe it was at Benson Park..As we were driving back toward town, we saw a sign saying it was at St-Thomas Park. Thompson - St-Thomas ; they sound almost the same. Then it dawned on me that I had given directions to Kim on how to get to Thompson Park! I hope she saw the sign too...

We arrived at the (right) park, found a spot near the public pool, and walked directly over to Ted and Bad Pete to ask them if Kim had shown up...nope. They had tried reaching her on her cell too but there was no answer. I didn't have her cell number programmed on my phone so I called her husband at home to see if maybe she had called him...nope. I told him I would continue to look around for her. I left Chantal and the girls to get an ice cream while I headed back to the car to retrace our steps and maybe find Kim driving around Hudson. Decision. and path.

No luck. By the time I got back to St-Thomas park, it was dark and the movie had started. I couldn't find Chantal and the girls, nor Ted, and not even Bad Pete. As I was walking, I noticed another CHOM rep and asked she had heard from Kim yet. She confirmed that Kim had gotten lost and had gone back home. I asked if she had seen Chantal and the girls and she said she hadn't. While we were speaking my phone beeped - I had a message. It was Chantal saying she was at the corner store trying to find me...ugh! I headed back to the SUV to meet up with her. When I got to the car, I noticed a scratch and dent on the door...of our brand new SUV...that we are so careful to drive and protect...double ugh!

As I pulled out, I picked up Chantal and the girls and explained what had happened and that our new car was scratched. This is when we began our "what if we hadn't...." discussion. In the space of less than an hour, a series of small decisions, each led to a new path taken, and eventually to a total bust of an evening. Some may say that we should have heeded the "signs" (girls already in their PJs, falling in the stairs, keys in the door, wrong park) to have not gone or simply turned back. But I am saying first hand that you can only recognize these things as signs after the fact. In the moment, they are unrelated circumstances and outcomes. So the question then is why do we take these paths? We have to live with our decisions and not try to revisit them after the fact with "woulda, coulda, shoulda". What is done is done. There will be other paths to take, and other outcomes soon enough. Seize the moment, and sometimes the outcomes will be positive and sometimes the outcomes will not. That's all there is to it. No sense dwelling on the past, right?

Then again, had we not left - Kim did in fact drop by our house and we would have probably discovered that it was at St-Thomas Park. She would have made it to the park and maybe, just maybe, our new car wouldn't have gotten scratched....But then again, a whole new series of paths and decisions would have unfolded, so who really knows how things would have ended up.

Keep on running ;-)

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