When Transport Falls Through
The Challenges, Maximizing Success and Handling Disappointment
There is nothing more irritating and frustrating than waiting and not knowing if a ride will show up or not. The questions come: Did s/he forget me? Or simply have a problem? How long should I wait? Should I call? Should I be patient? And then . . . frantic thoughts . . . Hurry up! Come on! I’m going to miss it! Finally, the sinking realization . . . S/He isn’t coming. There must have been some misunderstanding. It’s too late now. ___ is going to start any minute.
Let down. Terrible disappointment.
It happened to me four times in the past week and a half.
A meeting. A networking event. An outing on a pontoon boat. Worst of all, a professional author event that I was all fired up about.
All lost opportunities.
As a vision impaired person who doesn’t drive anymore, I experience these let-downs frequently.
Often, it isn’t anyone’s fault. But transportation problems still keep me from living the life I want.
I come from a small town where public transport isn’t readily available so I depend on others to drive me to the places I can’t walk to. I’ve looked into the Lift but it only comes into my town a couple of times a week and if what I want to do doesn’t fall on those days, then that doesn’t work. For doctor’s appointments, there is transport from the Sight Center in the city next to me for minimal cost. But I have to book in advance. Mostly, I depend on people–my brother, a friend or church members.
As I see it, vision impaired people are risk takers when it comes to reaching their goals. Risks involve: going out on a limb to ask for transport, finding ways to maximize success and getting over it if and when the transportation falls through.
It’s hard enough to even ask.
3 Obstacles to Overcome in Securing Transport
1. Pride. It feels like I am begging, imposing, dependent. Not the image I want of myself.
2. Embarrassment. If I have my heart set on going to a certain place and options are limited, I may have to resort to asking people I might not otherwise ask. For example, to find transport to my out-of-town author event, I followed up on a suggestion to ask a high school classmate if her retired father could take me. I wasn’t in regular contact with that classmate and I’m certain that request coming out of the blue seemed so bizarre I never heard back!
3. Frustration. Here I go again, the Do-you-mind-if lady asking for a ride. Putting someone on the spot. Making someone drive out of their way. Only to hear a not-this-time, maybe-next response.
3 Ways to Avoid Being Left Behind
1. Ask in advance. I tend to be a last-minute kind of person and wait to ask. The sooner I ask, the more time that person has to fit me in the schedule. My sister didn’t like it when I sprang something on her and frequently reminded me of this fact.
2. Coordinate schedules. I had a friend who insisted on us getting the event in our calendars. Whether it’s a phone, email or actual physical calendar on the wall, it’s important for both parties to have it down in writing.
3. Call to remind the person. Reminders are important. Either the day before, or the morning of the agreed-upon ride. It prevents misunderstandings. If I’d done that the morning of the pontoon ride, I might have caught the driver in time.
Even with these directives in place, transportation still falls through. Small let-downs are easier to deal with than ones that matter to my career. In either situation, events beyond my control prevent me from getting to where I need to be. With my ride to my author book festival, I relied heavily on a particular friend to drive me. We experienced the following problems:
1. On holiday in an inaccessible location
She had been in and out of town on vacation for a few weeks; our communication was sporadic. While she was away, I learned about the opportunity. She had told me earlier that she was not opposed to taking me outside our immediate area and I knew she usually had weekends off. So I sent her a text message about it as soon as I found out. I didn’t know that she couldn’t receive messages since she was at a ranch nestled in the mountains. She had no signals for phone or email. When I didn’t hear back, I thought she had probably put it in her calendar and I only had to confirm.
2. Change of Plan and Work Schedule
She extended her holiday by two days. Without knowing about the event, there was no need to notify me of the change. But I was waiting anxiously to confirm the ride. I didn’t know why she didn’t return my messages. We were both out of the loop.
When she finally met up with me, she quickly told me there was no way she could take me because she needed to work. Perhaps because she had stayed away longer than intended. Maybe just because she had to work. Who knows why? But she told me she couldn’t change it after just coming back from her holiday.
3. Unconfirmed Ride
We had never confirmed so technically, I shouldn’t have banked on her driving. I should have had a back-up plan. But I didn’t know who to ask. Driving to another city for an entire day is a lot to ask of anyone. She had often come through for me in the past.
So that left me…
Scrambling for a ride with only a few days to resolve the issue!
I pleaded. Cajoled. Attempted ridiculous scenarios. Nothing came through. Time was up–it was the end of the line and time to give up.
My response? Negative Mindset!
My friend hadn’t let me down on purpose. But the result was overriding disappointment. Frustration. Anger. That everything-in-my-life-is-out-of-control feeling. Self pity. The I-hate-my-life feelings. The I’ll-never-have-the-same-opportunities-others-have roadblock. Then the if-my-dad-were-alive-he’d-have-made-sure-I-got-there outcry. I’m sure you can relate on some level.
But I hate dwelling and brick walls, especially those I construct myself. So I charged myself with finding ways to get past these disappointments, especially the author event.
3 Ways to Move Forward after (Big) Let Downs.
1. Shift my focus to what I CAN do.
*work on my book
*run, to get my 25-miles in for the week
*make a nice meal
2. Turn to humor
I don’t need to take myself so seriously. It’s better to laugh at the great lengths I went to find transport and instead of being embarrassed, imagine the great fodder I created for a humorous magazine article that other vision impaired can relate to, get it down to later develop.
3. Trust God with His Timing
As a follower of Christ, I am not to trust in my own understanding but instead, rest in God’s provision and perfect timing. If He had wanted me to attend that Author Book Fest, He would have opened the door. Other doors have flown open. I kept pulling at this door in my own power but no matter how hard I pulled, it remained closed. I don’t think I wanted to accept God’s answer. I wanted my own way. But God wants me to surrender my will to His perfect will for my life.
That’s hard to do.
I have to keep asking Him to guide me through these minefields of my mind. Nothing gets past Him without His allowing it. His purpose is to shape me into a likeness of His son and to develop my character. There was nothing wrong with me pursuing a ride but to wallow in that anger and frustration is wrong.
When transport falls through and I can do nothing to fix the situation, I need to accept it with patience and grace.
When have you had to miss a function because of some kind of transport issue? How did you respond?