I’m a master procrastinator. Why do something now when I can stall and do it later. How did I come to this conclusion? What was the trigger? What got me to see the light? My car, of course.
No, I’m not talking about the fact I’m an accumulator and chuck stuff into my car, and once a year I clean it. Nope. Okay, so my bedroom is the same. But these aren’t good examples. I need something really, really big. Something that to the everyday person they would look at my example and say, Wow!
The fact is though, my car is my example. Just not the way you think it is. I’m talking about the windshield spray. Three months ago I realized it wasn’t working properly. I own a 2008 Ford Focus with 130k miles on it. It’s that time things like this start breaking, I rationalized at the time. At first a dribble came out of one nozzle, and nothing out the other one. After a few days of this then it quit spraying altogether. I could hear the motor whrrrr, but nothing came out either nozzle.
Crap, I thought, I don’t need this. Winter is fast approaching and squirting the windshield is how I defrost the windows in those cold winter mornings. I hate scraping. And I get gook on the windshield from all the winter slush and stuff. I don’t want to mess with it. Sometime I’ll look at it, I thought.
I never got to that sometime. In the meantime I pulled out my scraper and scraped away. But I couldn’t throw snow on the windshield to clean it because we didn’t have any snow on the ground. And I wasn’t very consistent about scraping either. Too lazy. I would turn on the defrost and started driving in the hopes the frost on my windshield would clear. I turned on my wipers hoping that would help, too. Nope.
The kicker occurred about a month into this process. I headed to work one day at 7:30 am on a cold, frosty morning barely able to see out my windshield. Common sense failed me as I continued to drive. Turning the defrost on made it worse, initially. It takes a while before the cold blast turns warm and does its thing.
Driving north on 35W while cursing a little under my breath and unable to see, I muttered come on with the greatest of disdain. I urged my defroster on with please work, but it made not a difference. No matter what I urge, the defroster takes some time before it turns warm and does its thing. As I plowed down the freeway at 60 mph, non too smart, I kept blaming. If only the darn defroster would warm up.
The truth is I got lucky, despite my stupidity. I could have caused an accident, and it didn’t have to be that way. When I got home that night I decided to at least pop the hood and see what was going on. Where was the motor? How much work will it take? What will it cost? Upon popping the hood I immediately saw the problem. The left side plastic spray nozzle had broken, and the wiper fluid hose that connected to it no longer connected to it. That explained it.
Heading over to the dealer the next day the part cost a whopping $10. Great, I thought, I’ll have this fixed in no time! I slid the part in my center console on that warm, sunny day. And left it there. And left it there. And left it there … for days on end. Days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. And the weather went from sunny warm to winter cold. Although not bitter winter cold, just a little colder than fall. And no snow.
In that time span I continued to hit the defrost, and pull out my scrapper and go to it. And everyday I would think, Oh man I should fix that dumb thing. But everyday that I expended mental energy thinking about it was another day it didn’t work.
Finally this weekend, with temperatures dipping into the mid teens, and snow dusting the ground with a bigger storm fast approaching, I decided I should do something about it.
I plucked the new plastic nozzle from my center console, grabbed a pliers, opened the hood, and went to work. First, I demolished the troublesome plastic nozzle, removing it from the hood. That chewed up 1o seconds. Next, I grabbed a screw driver, and scrapped out the bad plastic from the wiper fluid hose connector. That took 20 seconds. Then, I snapped the new nozzle into its proper place in the hood. That took another 10 seconds, maybe. Finally, with great fanfare, I snapped the wiper fluid hose connector onto the new nozzle; 3 more seconds. Done! All-in-all it took under 1 minute. Really, that’s all it took. Under 1 minute.
I had spent 3 months contemplating this 1 minute splice of time. I allowed the inconvenience of a non-working windshield wiper system to dominate. I drove as a road hazard, putting others in peril from my lack of action. And I expended brain calories too numerous to count analyzing this and figuring that and wishing for it all to go away. All over something that took me less than 1 minute to fix.
I’ve concluded from this little exercise that the emotions of thinking about something are usually far greater than the actual act of doing it. It doesn’t matter the thing: taxes, doing wash, filling out applications, repairing something, just go on down the line. I think, I fuss, I calculate, I analyze. If only I would just do it, and I’m not referring to the Nike commercial. Please don’t remind me about my room. Just let it go.
So learn from me. Don’t spend gobs of hours over the course of months to do something when you could be done in a small amount of time. Go forth and take that action. Because if you do, you’ll have a smile on your face knowing you did it, however small, and that sure beats thinking about it any day. And besides, you won’t have to think about it anymore because it’ll be done!