Last night, when I got home, there was a message on my voice mail saying “This is (my landlord). Please call me.” My mind immediately jumped into gear. What could he possibly want? And it was too late then to call him back. I would have to wait until tomorrow.
Was my rent late? No.. it wasn’t. The check has already cleared. Was it about my upcoming lease renewal? Probably not, because his assistant has already contacted me and everything is in process. Did they need access to my apartment?
Or worse! Had they needed to get in to fix a problem while I was out? THAT must be it! They went into my apartment. It was too messy. Some stuff was on the floor and not put away. I hadn’t gotten around to vacuuming the carpet. The kitchen had some dishes in the sink… Had I taken out the garbage? I don’t know! OMG, OMG, OMG… what if they are going to evict me or not renew my lease! What will I do??
And then I remembered early television pioneer Danny Thomas’s famous “Jack Story.” Here it is for anyone who hasn’t heard it:
THE JACK STORY, by Danny Thomas
There’s this traveling salesman who gets stuck one night on a lonely country road with a flat tire and no jack. So he starts walking toward a service station about a mile away, and as he walks, he talks to himself. “How much can he charge me for renting a jack?” he thinks. “One dollar, maybe two. But it’s the middle of the night, so maybe there’s an after-hours fee. Probably another five dollars. If he’s anything like my brother-in-law, he’ll figure I got no place else to go for the jack, so he’s cornered the market and has me at his mercy. Ten dollars more.”
He goes on walking and thinking, and the price and the anger keep rising. Finally, he gets to the service station and is greeted cheerfully by the owner: “What can I do for you, sir?” But the salesman will have none of it. “You got the nerve to talk to me, you robber,” he says. “You can take your stinkin’ jack and . . .”
The next day: I called the landlord back. He said “We were turning on the air conditioning in the building and your parking space is above the access to the building’s unit. We thought we needed to have you move your car, but since you were out yesterday, the problem was solved. Thanks.”
How many times have I jumped the gun, made assumptions and created scenarios from them, worked myself into a state, and acted in accordance… but of course, not with what was REALLY happening in the moment? How much undue fear, worry, self-torture have I committed in the name of “What if…?”
Lesson learned again! I hope… until the next time it happens. Ahhh me!