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The Big Chill

Allonhill is fairly chaotic most days.  We need to meet together quite a lot, and we have clients in to do site visits, others in to do compliance tests, and others visiting us or vice versa to talk about partnering together.  We’re hiring at an incredible rate.  I think we have 13 jobs posted right now, but we need dozens of analysts by year-end with qualifications that cover the full spectrum of mortgage expertise.  We have a couple of other jobs that aren’t posted, in areas such as compliance and human resources.  All of those job postings mean we’re meeting people all day long for interviews. When I review our visitors log every week, I am astounded at how many people have come through our organization.  What it all translates to is an intense environment, where we are all in meetings or trying to squeeze in some work between meetings.  We all work long days, and we all feel like we’ll never get it all done. 

I’m an impatient, Type A person who LOVES a frenzied pace.  They mock me at the House of Allon because when I go to bed I walk with the same brisk authority I have all day at the office.  I’m not all that good at downtime. 

It takes small things to renew one’s perspective.  Yesterday, I started the day with my usual intensity.  I finished a tennis lesson early in the morning, then threw on some clothes and headed to the office.  I backed out of the garage and closed the garage door, ready to head downtown.  Then I noticed the “Trunk is Unlatched” warning indicator light, so I stopped the car, left it running, and got out to close the hatchback properly.  I closed the driver’s side door and I heard a fateful sound.  It’s a sucking-in sound I’ve heard many times these past few weeks, and I knew it meant I was in for some unplanned downtime. 

It was the sound of the doors locking themselves.  With the car running.  With the keys on the seat (it has a “keyless” ignition, so you don’t actually put a key into the car to open or operate it). 

For several months, and increasingly in recent weeks and days, the car has defied logic by locking itself with the keys in it or out of it.  It doesn’t matter, the thing just locks.  I’ve taken it back to the dealer four times.  In fact, the dealer, among others, has had to come and rescue me from being locked out, more than once.  They’ve always given it a thorough looking-over, but the problem doesn’t replicate itself predictably.  You can open and close the doors thirty times without them locking, then they will lock ten times in a row.  

Since they’ve never been able to replicate the problem, the dealer has given me the “we think there must be a nut behind the wheel, Lady” routine lately.  That hasn’t gone over that well with me.  Still, they haven’t figured the problem out. 

This time, I got their attention.  The trunk was, indeed, unlocked.  I was able to open it.  I think I could have squeezed through the gap between the trunk and the back seat.  And, I have my Ashram-fit body now, which gave me some hope of fitting.  I was really, really tempted to try.  But I was in a dress.  Sleeveless (left the jacket inside the car).  And I was barefoot.  I had a vision of getting stuck in that thing, and having to be hauled out by firemen.  I imagined someone walking by with a cell phone and taking a picture.  I thought it would not be worth it to risk that whole scene. 

So, I called for help, then I spent forty minutes standing there, in bare feet and a sleeveless dress, leaning up against the car, waiting.  I got through a lot of emails on my Blackberry.  I note that even though I had neither shoes nor jacket on a day when there was frost on the ground, I never parted from my Blackberry, even for a moment to close the trunk. 

Then I ran out of emails to do.  And I made all the calls I needed to make.  So I contemplated the sun rising, and I contemplated the people jogging by pushing baby strollers, and I marveled at all the traffic on what I thought was a quiet street. 

In the end, I was rescued, and the dealer came and took the car away.  They haven’t called back.  There’s no point in calling until they’ve found the problem; they know that.  I imagine them there now, opening and closing the door, trying to get it to lock itself. 

And as for spending a few minutes in restful meditation, when I should have been at the office and well into my second meeting: it nearly killed me.  Wasn’t the quiet time a nice break?  No way--we’ve got way too much going on for unanticipated downtime! 

And it was a little cold.