And for once I was SuperMom

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Butterfly Effect?

Rosslyn rents cars out to their teachers. Most teachers live on campus (we don’t) and the school provides these cars for transportation. Initially when we didn’t have a car and getting back and forth to school was a huge source of stress, these rentable cars saved us many a time. Now that we own a car these rentals have come in handy on the many occasions when our Subaru turns up smoking. A few weeks ago we were hosting two of our friends from South Africa. Scott had driven across town early in the morning to pick them up from where they were staying on the way back the car started smoking right in front of the road that leads to Rosslyn. They were slated to climb Mt. Longonot that day, needless to say they did not.
As with all things, there is a hierarchy of cars, ones which are cheaper or nicer or bigger. After our Subaru was pushed to safety and turned into our mechanic Scott went to go check out a car. There was a station wagon available, they grabbed the keys and loaded up their suitcases happily feeling saved. A staff member came out and saw this; she was on her way to the bank. There was another car available, a small pocket-sized hatchback. (the station wagon is a much nicer ride, the hatchback’s shocks have been obliterated) Unbeknownst to Scott the station wagon is reserved for office use. This staff member pointed this out, Scott said he didn’t know that and couldn’t he just take it? The staff member insisted that everyone knows that and that she needed it at that moment. Scott and his guests unloaded their suitcases and gear and looked at the hatchback. It wasn’t all going to fit. They loaded half of it up and stored the other half in our broken car. Then walked over to the nearest grocery store and bought gifts to take back to their family. Unbeknownst to them as well the staff member that insisted on using the station wagon was going to the same complex. Maybe could’ve given them a ride.
Later that day one of our guests, De La, wrenched his back, Scott and the two of them ended up spending five hours in the emergency room waiting for a doctor to give him a shot and muscle relaxants. Meanwhile Emma I had let Emma cry for ten minutes because I couldn’t get her to nap and didn’t know what to do with her. This is when I learned that my baby can’t really cry it out, and she let me know at top volume inconsolably for two and a half hours. I called a friend and between the two of us we cooked dinner and held the baby while she let the world know everything that was wrong. So my poor husband is trying to navigate the Kenyan medical system, get his friend taken care of, and is listening to his child scream and his wife cry on the phone…and then on the way home they have to run an extra errand, to pick up the rest of our guests stuff, because the car we had to rent, because someone insisted that they get a certain car, was too small to carry it all….which if you think even farther De La, who is a big man, was jammed into a little car with no shocks with a thrown out back…
This whole incident made me think when have I insisted on a rule or been selfish and didn’t want to be inconvenienced and caused someone a lot of undue stress or actually even pain. If that staff member had thought, “hey, they already have the car loaded we can use the hatchback for a day, no big deal,” our lives would have been that much easier for a day. But she didn’t. Things like that keep happening to me lately. A teacher used up all my glue bottles and threw them out, these are glue bottles that we ship in from the states. So now we have no glue for the rest of the year and we have to buy new bottles.
With the anger and frustration I feel each time something like this happens there is a sinking feeling that my actions have that kind of effect. When have I stuck to a rule and made one of student’s lives awful? When have I slacked and made one of my friend’s lives more difficult because I didn’t do what I said? What kind of butterfly effect do I have?

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