At first, I shrugged it off and kept eating. My wife has this habit of smelling odors that aren't there, hearing intruders in the middle of the night who don't exist. So I wasn't too concerned.
Until I followed her into the basement and the smell was undeniable. There was gasoline somewhere.
We searched the basement, but couldn't locate the smell. It was strongest near the left wall, the one closest to the garage.
"Do you think it's coming from the garage?" my wife asked.
I sighed. Great, just what I wanted to be doing before 6 AM: searching for leaking gas in my garage.
I drank the rest of my cereal milk and we went outside.
Now a couple of months ago, when Hurricane Irene struck, my wife and I bought a back-up generator. We hadn't needed it, thank goodness, but when we opened the garage, there it was leaoking over the garage floor.
Talk about irony--here we bought it to solve one problem and now it was causing another one! Tyler Durden nailed it when he said, "The things you own, wind up owning you."
So we poured sand over the gas and placed a container beneath the leak. Luckily it was very slow--just a drop every few seconds. If I was lucky, maybe it wouldn't overflow before I got home from work. (I know someone is cringing at this right now.)
I don't know if I handled the situation as responsibly as I could have--I had to get to work, be in the classroom teaching by 7:30. But I wasn't as rattled as I normally would have been. Strangely I felt like this was just another event, admittedly inconvenient, but not as much of a problem as it normally would have felt like.
It was what it was: leaking gasoline in my garage. There was no use adding to the situation. That's what I have been learning from Zen: don't add anything. I'm a pro at that, complicating situation with all sorts of extra baggage--emotions, thoughts, you name it.
But now, standing in the garage, barefoot and in my boxer shorts, I felt an openness. I didn't have to freak out. I had a choice.
Thanks to all the ancestors for giving that to me.
Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr user: silverlunace.