When you’re being at the moment of truth, really just being the moment of truth, the experience of time’s passing slows dramatically. The wisdom aspect of it is a knowing everything and a knowing nothing all at the same time. Present. To everything. And Nothing.
It was a grey 1978 Ford Fairmont. It had the sweet, dashed, between-the-windows stripe but that had been painted over by an Earl Sheib $89.95 special. They used a matching grey but painted right over that sweet stripe…unbelievable. That’s probably why it was so cheap. Tony says we paid $50 bucks to Dave for it …I’m thinking it was a little more like $50 bucks each, but the certainty of that memory is lost to time. I probably wasn’t present at that moment of truth.
Either way, the Fairmont wasn’t running. Tony said he heard that Fairmont’s made great sleeper cars and that this one with the straight six under the hood could be a beast – not The Beast – that’s another moment of truth, but a beast. The plan was that we would work on it in the neighbor’s garage, and when we were done with it we’d race it…Quigley Avenue or something. Nothing like Norwalk or anything like that…at the time my ability to dream was a little stifled and suppressed by the stories I’d made up in the past.
It was supposed to turn out like this Fairmont.
That Ford Fairmont would have been really bad-a$$…not to mention that we sawed out the steel plate behind the backseat (I think Tony did all the work) so it would also be an incredible camping machine. Picture it – just pop out that back seat and two people could easily sleep in the trunk (and backseat) with nothing more than a sleeping bag. It was like a Chevy Avalanche but in 1987 – we were way ahead of our time. And it would have been an incredible racing machine – hah! I just thought of this – not only was it a sleeper*, it was also a sleeper. Visionaries.
The only problem with the plan was that neither of us really had enough money to sink into this car to turn it around. It was Tony’s neighbor with the garage right next door so he spent some time over there messing with it, but I just don’t remember being over there all that often. I remember feeling powerless to do anything because I didn’t know very much about cars at all, I had no money, and I was too worried about looking bad to admit any of that to anybody that may be able to assist us. I recall highlights such as getting that steel cut out, and actually getting the thing running with tons of starter fluid directly into the opened up carburetor. That was mostly what was wrong with it, the carburetor, and Tony tinkered away enough with it that we got it running. We were so psyched, we had the hood off but we just had to take it out for a ride. That was the only ride I ever had in our bad-a$$ Ford Fairmont.
Eventually the neighbor got sick of that heap sitting in her garage. Something happened to the transmission…I wasn’t around when it did and I don’t know that I ever really understood what…exactly…happened. I didn’t care. I was busy having other powerful life altering learning events. Eventually that car ended up sitting on a gravel lot at Pearl and Bader outside of a friend of ours’ house, a house he was renting I think. It sat there for a few months. It seemed like forever when I’d drive by and still see that car sitting there. Time moved a lot slower even normally then…a few months seems like years when you just turned 18.
Seeing that lost dream sitting there for ALL THAT TIME eventually made me start asking Tony what exactly happened to the transmission. Was there anyway to fix it? Did you even get underneath there to check it out? What happened when it stopped working? We stopped there to reveal the answers to these questions, maybe it was just so I’d stop asking questions and I could find out for myself.
Tony was there, Bob was there, Ed was there, maybe Chris from inside the house was there (he wanted it out of there by then too). I don’t remember how we got there, or too much on either side of the moment of truth. We took the factory jack out of the trunk and put it under the car and started jacking it up. It was one of those uni-body cars or whatever they called them at the time…they were making cars lighter to get better gas mileage so the days of a big heavy frame were over. And the jack was one of those expanding diamonds…starts out flat and raises up just enough at the very top so you can get a tire off.
When I was a kid I was always warned about getting under cars on a jack. I only heard the story once about the friend of the family whose son got crushed by a car. That kind of story only needed to be heard once and I didn’t even have any of the details. The only thing I really knew about the story was that it happened the same day he was playing with a Ouija board with his friends. It was an effective story – I was left fearful of getting under cars and playing with Ouija boards.
For whatever reason, that fear was not there that day (probably so I could someday write this story and alter the course of somebody’s life by revealing the distinction “being present”). I must have really been messing with Tony, pressing him about the transmission. I got down on my back and slid myself in there. Once I started looking at that transmission I realized where I was. I didn’t see any major leaks, but it looked quite a mess around the bell housing with greasy gloppy stuff all around.
Then time went all slow motion on me. My senses were already heightened because I had just realized where I was, and at the same time the voice was chattering as it does about not wanting to look like a big wuss, freaking out and pulling myself out from under that car. It didn’t matter.
While those two things were happening, another simultaneous sound was happening, and I was hearing it at the same time the voice was telling me that you wouldn’t want to look like a wuss. Hearing a cheap, piece of crap, yet still solid steel Ford factory tire jack break through the rusted out, unibody, not-frame of a 1978 Ford Fairmont sounds exactly the way you would expect it to sound. When you’re under that Ford Fairmont it sounds like the sound of chewing Peanut Butter Captain Crunch recorded and played in slow motion at a really high volume.
There is where the moment of truth began. Like I said in my last post the moment of truth is happening every moment, every second, of every minute of every hour, of every day. The Truth/Love/Aletheia about it is that those seconds, minutes, hours, days don’t actually exist – they’re something we’ve made up, and agreed that they exist. All there is are moments of truth (right now). It’s useful to be able to relay the stories of things that have happened in the seconds, and minutes, and hours, and days gone by or the plans of the seconds, and minutes, and hours, and days ahead but they are not to be confused with truth.
Aletheia. An immediate unconcealing. A revealing of Truth. Love, present, and experienced.
During the slow motion crunching sound, while looking at the greasy bell housing, the instinct to turn my head happened. During the slow motion crunching sound, while my head was turning I saw the car getting lower. There was no voice in my head. There was only that slow motion crunching sound, the car getting lower, the increased pressure on my pectoral muscles where the welded seam of the unibody not-frame met the floor boards of the more fuel efficient-than-my-father’s-old-blue-1970-Ford-Galaxy-500-that-my-brother-wrecked 1978 Ford Fairmont.
Wide-awake. Aware. Not enough experience around it to know that’s what I was, not like being light aware and wide-awake. Hearing everything, not loudly but clearly and crisply. Seeing that the car had stopped moving, feeling my chest pinned yet still able to take in and let out breath, lightly yet heavily. Seeing out of the periphery vision the feet scurrying by my feet outside from under the lightning fast sleeper Ford Fairmont. The gasps. The oh no’s, the oh-my-God, oh-my-Gods, leading to the Ed, Ed, are you alrights. Situation assessed here under the car…not the “voices in my head” assessment…a silent knowing assessment without language – a Self assessment. Without words. Head’s not smashed, breathing heavy but good, no send me into unconsciousness pains, not laughing either – but feeling good. Feeling grateful, and appreciative, and I can say it now as a story – loved. Dodged a bullet loved, though, got lucky loved…not intentional and not having caused it. Not willfully present and mindful and Wise.
Wisdom it was nonetheless. The second time I’d felt it. A time in slow motion oneness with the moment. A knowing, sensing everything while knowing nothing at all. Not dodging death, but just not yet time to die. Under that car, one of the things I most feared happened and I was not dead (good thing I hadn’t been using a Ouija board).
That was how the experience was for me – drawn out in story here for sure, and I want you to understand that talking about the moments that fill a 15 second time span as a watch ticks – telling the story about those moments is not those moments. Most of the time we’re missing those moments with the dialogue we’re filling the space with. But life occurs in those moments, those moments of truth (right now). And it is possible to intentionally experience moments right now without all of the noise and distraction and consideration about how you look and what they’ll think and just be grateful and appreciative of them scurrying about acting astonished about what just happened even though what just happened always happens and when you’re present you’re not surprised that it just happened. We can be present and wise right now.
As my friends like to tell the story…everybody’s freaking out and saying are you alright, Ed are you alright? Then there’s a silence and they wait for the answer. As calm as can be, Ed says, “Pick….the….car….up.” And that was how it was for me – calm as can be. They picked the car up, I slid out and the moments carried on. I grinned as I do.
* A sleeper is a car that looks to be ordinary, nothing special…until you pull up next to it to race and only then is its Truth/Love/Aletheia revealed.