I follow a thought-provoking blog called No Facilities . I was provoked again today. The suggestion was made that a person’s life is defined by what happens when the need for a plan B arises . Well , I don’t know about defining of people’s lives . I know about plan B .
When I’m driving , for example , I try to always have a plan B ready . I try to remain aware of options if everything suddenly goes wrong . I think part of that approach comes from the old days of driving less-than-reliable old clunkers. Something could go wrong at any time : flat tires , broken transmission linkage ( oh , yeah ! ) , overheating , dead battery , sudden loss of power steering ( yeah , that , too !) , etc. And those , of course , are just a partial list of possible problems with my vehicle . Multiply that by the number of other vehicles on the road . Then add the potential for balls rolling into the street followed closely by running children , bicyclists suddenly veering into traffic lanes , loose boulders rolling onto the road , dogs , cats , coyotes, deer , etc. wandering onto the pavement . Well , you get the idea . Be ready .
I always have a plan B ready while driving . If a truck suddenly swerves into my lane I know where I can pull my car , left or right , to escape . I try to stay aware of soft shoulders , blind curves , the vehicle behind me , etc. I calculate whether or not that driver behind me is likely to respond safely in an emergency . I do , really .
There was an incident in Mexico , once , when I was driving my friend’s pickup on a rural road full of eighteen-wheelers . Someone coming toward me decided to pass the truck in front of him . Trouble was the line of eighteen-wheelers closed ranks and there was no place for this guy to go ; not ahead of the truck in front of him and not behind . We were speeding toward one another, this dangerous driver and I , head on , at about seventy mph . He was trapped in my lane ; and apparently he had no plan B .
I’m not going to tell you what happened . I’ll let you wonder . Did they all die ? Maybe Dan had an escape plan . I can tell you that my friend , the owner of the pickup truck I was driving , he who was sitting next to me , I’m quite certain saw his entire life flash before his eyes during those seconds of terror .
When travelling , I try to have a plan B . Things go wrong . Often the plan B is devised on the spot . When the Mount Wilson Observatory road was closed , for example , after we spent the last hour climbing the mountain to get there , we needed another plan . We could just sit there in the car ( yes , we were climbing in a car ) and cry .That could have been the plan B , to cry . But I decided that we should go further up Angeles Crest Highway to a picnic area and have a picnic .
Unfortunately , there were two problems with that plan . First , the wind was whipping furious and cold up there , colder than we’d expected . Second , our daughter-in-law in the back seat was carsick , and the thought of going further up the mountain nauseated her .
Sometimes you will need a plan C . I don’t even want to speculate how a person’s life might be defined by their readiness to implement plans C .
I think , sometimes , that my entire life is a plan B . I’m not a plan A personality . If I were , I would have a fancier house , a classier car . I’d wear designer suits , perhaps , and I’d be tweeting my every thought and action . Actually , my valet would be doing my tweeting , and tens of thousands of people around the world would be following my every tweet . Or something . As it is , I don’t even know how Twitter works . I wouldn’t know a tweet if one knocked on my front door and introduced itself . ” I’ve been in the neighborhood for years ! ” it would say , and I’d just stare .
If I were a Plan A personality , I would’ve fixed on a career path early on and ambitiously climbed high up the career ladder, married the right girl the first time , had the right number of children , that sort of thing . Plan A could’ve been a sweet ride , I guess .
I’m not one to suffer from depression . But , if I were , I’d be depressed that so much has passed me by in my life , so many missed opportunities , so many plan A achievements that might have been . On the other hand , everybody must face the failure of their plans A either sometimes or often . Right ? Maybe a life is indeed defined by a person’s responses when a plan B is needed .
Maybe some people are able , either intentionally or unintentionally , to make a plan B look like a plan A . ( The theme of this post , even , seems to have taken that route .) In that case I won’t be depressed. .