I’ve been around for a little while now, and in that time, I’ve learned a lot. Some of it has been painful at times, but generally, after a while, I’ve learned my lesson. And I thought, today, I might share some of the more useful of these lessons with you.
Why now? Well, driving back from a day out of the office during the week, I caught this cool episode of The American Life, where they were talking about a book published in the mid 1990s, compiled by the Children’s Hospital at Yale. It’s a book written by kids – short stories of personal, painful experiences, safety tips kids want to tell so others don’t make the same mistake. Sounds a bit serious, I know (I think there were some pretty serious ones in the book), but the ones shared were really funny. Very, very specific advice told in the world weary tone, with bizarre little expressions, that only primary age kids sharing great insights can achieve. It was part of a broader podcast of people re-examining and reconsidering what happened to them in the past – kept me very entertained.
In the spirit of goodwill, I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve learned that didn’t work – so you don’t have to find out for yourselves (because, seriously – you would never, ever, guess these for yourselves)! When I thought about it – there are actually lots of different thing, so I’ll restrict myself to a few topics. Call this a little bit of community service for the week, maybe? And join in, in the comments too- there are always
silly not so obvious mistakes that any of us might make – why should we all go through it?
Yes, you’re right, it’s also just a bit of an excuse for a chat – as if we need an excuse? So even if you’ve breezed through life without making any silly mistakes, I’d still love to hear from you!
So, so many lessons here! Some key (ha, ha) ones, are:
- Diesel cars need diesel fuel. Yes, you can fill one up with petrol (the service station pump will work), but the car won’t. It will stop. Suddenly. In the middle of the road. Sometimes in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately.
- If the engine starts making a funny ticking sound, and steam starts coming out from the front, don’t keep driving to your destination because you will probably not make it. You might then be stuck somewhere between Melbourne and Geelong (hypothetically), on the side of the road, waiting a long time to be towed, plus be up for a new engine. Bonus!
- If a sign says ‘Clear-way 4pm-6.30pm’, you might be mistaken for interpreting this as ‘4.30pm-6.00pm’. But others won’t. So you might – maybe – find you come back to your car to find it has been towed away somewhere. And you will have to find out where. And pay to get your car back (plus a fine), Which is annoying – and expensive.
- Unless you are looking to have short, sharp conversations with a lot of people you don’t know, maybe don’t leave your keys in the ignition, with the motor running, and the break on, and then somehow lock the car. Particularly in a busy suburban shopping strip, when you have to wait beside said car for a couple of hours, waiting for the RACV for a couple of hours, and fending off people helpfully pointing out that you’ve left your car running. (an old one, but still haunts me!)
- People who think they are being helpful are not always helpful. Particularly if they are pointing out the bleeding obvious. The helpful amongst us might need to be reminded of this sometimes!
And a favourite reminder from a wise mechanic, given cars are generally a depreciating asset: ‘Buy the cheapest car your ego will allow’. Which is also handy to remember if you just can’t afford a more expensive vehicle (pat yourself on the back – you clearly don’t have an over-inflated ego. Go you!)
In the home
- Unless it is labelled microwave popcorn, it won’t pop in the microwave. Not, not even by adding an extra minute, and another, and another. It might, however, make your microwave blow up. Which, hopefully, isn’t something you do everyday, so, well, maybe if you’re looking to try something new, give it a go? (Alternatively, why not choose a new hobby – you might find that more rewarding!)
- If you’ve got an old gas oven, don’t turn it on, with the oven door closed, while you look for a match to light it. Well, unless you want to experience a minor gas explosion, and flash burns, I suppose. On the plus side, it can act as a great motivator to finally get a new oven. Particularly as you’ve just bought a new microwave. You’re already up with the latest in cooking appliances. Which maybe is efficient. Perhaps.
The lessons I always need to be reminded of
- Don’t think, just this time, I can get away without sunscreen, and develop a tan. Never has worked. Never will work.
- Same with mosquitos. You will be bitten. Accept, and apply the repellant.
- It won’t rain if you have an umbrella, but it probably will if you don’t. So – do you want to be a drought breaker, or get wet? Your choice! (who says we can’t influence the weather?)
- Whatever you need will be in the very bottom of your bag. Unless you take a bag carefully pared back with only your essentials. Then you will need one of the items you took out. Guaranteed.
- You have a bag – therefore you can carry random things from your husband and kids. Of course you can. Just shove it in. You know you can always squeeze a little more room, don’t you?
Speaking of partners and kids …
- No. I’ll stop there. Otherwise I’ll never stop!
- Final lesson – know when you’ve written enough, and when to leave the rest for another day.
How about you? Do you have any lessons you’ve learned from bitter experience, that you’d like to share so others don’t have to go through it too?