In order to spread the word about my new book, From Depression to Contentment, I am in the process of trawling through my email records to find my psychologist colleagues. In the process, I found this 2014 contribution to the “Buddhism and Psychology Interest Group” of the Australian Psychological Society. Whatever annoyances grace your life, maybe you can use them as training opportunities, too?
We put in a 60 metre long driveway at our Moora Moora house some 7 years ago. It was such a good job that only now did I feel the need to renovate it. Because it had eroded well below the previous level, I wanted to build it up again, so ordered a truckload of crushed rock.
Friday, it rained so much that the delivery was cancelled. Oh well, it’s been a near-drought for months, rain is good. The quarry bloke asked me to phone on Monday.
Monday morning, perfect weather. I phoned. He said, “Your truck will go about 10 or 10:30. I’ll call when it leaves.”
So, we had a leisurely breakfast — and he phoned at 9:30: “Your truck’s on the way!” Rush, rush… I was at the truck gate, then waited for a quarter of an hour. No worries, I stood around in lovely surroundings (apart from the rubbish bins of course).
When it arrived, I guided the truck in. The driver inspected the location. In the couple of years since we’d moved down to suburban Healesville, some of the fruit trees had spread their branches. “Cut those off,” the bloke said.
Fair enough, but it hadn’t brought a saw. Glen was home, and yes he did have a chainsaw, which hadn’t been used for a couple of years. Still, miracle, it started.
I mutilated my fruit trees. Actually, fruit tree timber is ideal for carving. And did you know, Alexander the Great’s favourite spear handle was pear wood?
I said to the driver, “I want this driveway covered, and a pile down the bottom for the car port area.” He backed the huge truck down, and started dumping… and dumping… and dumping. At last he took off, and spread gravel on about 15 metres of road before running out.
Sigh. You don’t need to be a genius to drive a gravel truck.
I gently said, “I wanted to fix the driveway, and I don’t have a front end loader.”
“You told me you wanted 5 metres in a heap at the bottom.”
“Anyway, the next truck can cover your driveway.”
“I only ordered one truck.”
That was when the Buddhist equanimity kicked in. To mix religions, I instantly decided to do a Mitzvah, and not complain to his boss. (This is a secret good deed. Having told you about it, it’s not a secret, so it’s not a Mitzvah any more.)
My young friend Matt and I got wheelbarrows and shovels, and we started on our gravity-defying task of moving gravel uphill. No good: the stuff the truck spread was so soft the barrow wheel sank into it. I went off to get the tractor.
My last use of the tractor was maybe three years ago. In the meantime, the diesel fuel storage tank at the barn had rusted out. I found the tractor, but couldn’t find the key, and yes, it did need fuel.
Rachael is in charge of the tractor. I walked to her place. She was out, but Laurie phoned her. She told me where the key was, and suggested I talk to Mark about refuelling.
Mark told me on the phone he was in Clifton Hill. It took him five minutes of detailed instruction to coach me on the current fuelling procedure. It took only half an hour to implement.
And yes! I managed to drag all the gravel up, and it was lucky I had to use the tractor, because it automatically compacted the gravel.
Who said annoyances have to be annoying?