In order to move beyond their dark days, most depressives master the lesson on how to make lemonade from lemons.
For Valentine’s Day, here’s a romantic tale on just that: how a friend of mine turned an embarrassing situation into the best thing that ever happened to her….
Back when I began my writing career drafting instructions on how to bury St. Joseph (he’s known to make real estate sell) as part of the “St. Joseph’s Home Sales Kit” for Roman, Inc., a religious giftware company in the suburbs of Chicago, I befriended a woman who worked in the IT department. Aneta, a spritely Polish babe, handled the technological emergencies of computer-challenged folks such as myself who might, say, send an off-color joke to the entire company by accidentally pressing “Reply All” to an e-mail.
Aneta and I rode the same train to Roselle, Illinois. One morning on our train ride, Aneta filled me in on why she wasn’t driving to work. On December 7th, 1994 (the anniversary of Pearl Harbor), she had crashed her car into the front of Pick Kwik. The fire department was immediately dispatched. For most of the guys, her wreck was worth more laughs than an episode of “Seinfeld.” As if Aneta wasn’t humiliated enough.
One paramedic, however, didn’t mock or jeer. He sat down next to Aneta and told her not to feel bad.
“We all do stupid things,” he said, as they watched her totaled car get towed off.
In those five minutes, she fell in love with him. He was the sweetest, most compassionate man she had ever met. And as sure as Cinderella or Ariel (in “The Little Mermaid”) were when they met their men, she wanted to marry him.
“So I have a plan,” she told me.
“You want me to crash Eric’s car into another store so you can see him again?” I wondered, which would have been easy given my driving history.
“I’m going to pretend that I’m doing a story about paramedics for a class project,” she explained. “But I can’t do it alone. Will you go to the fire department with me, and act like you are my partner on this assignment?”
“Of course,” I said. I was used to pursuing dreams in a roundabout way.
My friend had plotted the details of her scheme a few months back, but she was waiting for the right accomplice, a crazy gal with whom to pull it off.
So after lunch one day, I held my nervous co-worker’s hand and prayed with her before she picked up the phone to schedule an interview with Bob, the kindly paramedic. Three days later, the two us tried to stop giggling as we approached the fire department.
As Aneta posed one question after the other, peering into her true love’s blue eyes, I scribbled copious notes as if my final grade depended on this fictitious paper.
I’m not sure of all the details after that. All I know is now Aneta and Bob are happily married with three kids. Neither of us works for Roman. And Aneta hasn’t driven into a Pick Kwik since.