You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

I grew up singing Billy Joel songs.

Just the other day, listening to “New York State of Mind” on the radio, I was struck by the line:

I don’t care if it’s Chinatown, or on Riverside

I always sang the line as “Rock Riverside” figuring it was the name of a place in New York, but after nearly 40 years, it occurred to me for the very first time (despite driving to NYC and passing Riverside many times) that the place name was NOT “Rock Riverside”

If Billy Joel was singing “rock Riverside” it would mean that “rock” was not being used as a noun, but a verb (after looking up the lyrics, I see I completely missed the preposition). Forty years of syntax error!

There are things we all think we know. We are so certain of the veracity that we never question the belief, but sometimes we are wrong. I’m not attempting to spread doubt and fear here. I’m simply suggesting:

Be Open to the Possibilities

Don’t hold too firmly to truths you’ve always known. People used to believe the world was flat and that bloodletting cured disease. Discovering you are wrong can be a positive way to grow your understanding, or as Billy Joel sang:

“Maybe I’m a lonely man who’s in the middle of something that he doesn’t really understand.”

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Recognize the Possibilities

Recently, a lot of annoying things have been happening. Not life or death, and not this is going to change my entire existence, but little things that irritate, annoy, frustrate. Things that pile up and weigh me down.

Some are recurring nuisances. For example, our phone line needs to be replaced. It is currently buried underneath a dirt road. Torrential rains cause the road to rut and wash away. Additional rock and dirt are added several times per year, and each time the road is “fixed” our buried land line is disturbed and damaged. Verizon patches the line, and a few weeks later the process is repeated. Frustrating. Except this time, the damaged line somehow self-dialed 911 and three police cars showed up. Annoying. The very next day, my dog encountered a skunk. Then, I discovered inconsistencies in my property tax bill requiring a meeting with the tax assessor. By this point, the aggravation usually feels crushing, but I must have been wearing rose colored glasses this week because every irritation turned into an opportunity.

My displeasure became a sign that something I’d put off was calling me to act.

During the police search, the lead officer suggested I unplug all the phones until the line was repaired, but that telephone line we never use cost $30 per month, and I’d been thinking about disconnecting it for months. Since I had to call Verizon anyway, I exercised my option to cancel the service.

Picking up my stinky dog, carrying her to the bathtub, and scrubbing her clean reminded me that my towel was still wet from my own shower 90 minutes earlier. I looked in the mirror and frowned. Then, I remembered my legs hadn’t been shaved for weeks. I always tell myself I’ll shave next time, but I needed a second shower now, so why not? Thanks to that skunk, I have smooth legs.

I delegated the issues with the tax bill and suddenly all my grievances became achievements. Maybe they stack up together to get my attention? I simply need to recognize the possibility presented when something unexpected occurs rather than judging it negatively.

This morning my back went bad which initially incites panic because my to do list won’t get done, but it’s Sunday, so I’m going to plug in the heating pad and watch football. A well deserved day of rest. Go Team!