The other day I was cleaning up a hard drive and found some stuff I’d written. I wrote the following circa 2011/12.
I moved to Texas during the summer of 2011. I soon came to understand that my 2004 Camry was not built for this state. It was impressively equipped with heated, leather pleather seats but my windows, unfortunately, lacked any sort of tint. My car needed to sit out for all of ten minutes to transform my seats into tortuously efficient conductors of the energy produced by the sun’s rays. So, I purchased a sunshade for my car naively thinking, such a simple device, its use and management must surely be axiomatic. My instinct, having never used nor paid attention to how a sunshade is used before, told me that it would just naturally rest on the rear view mirror.
Sunshades do not just rest on the rear view mirror. I was perplexed the first time I went to put my beautiful baby into action, “This thing does a really bad job of keeping the sun out. It doesn’t even stay in the windshield!” I thought. My next thought was that I must have purchased a defective unit; obviously this one wasn’t working properly, so a simple exchange should settle all of this. It would be just my luck to buy the one sunshade, out of who knows how many that were produced in that same batch, that was defective. This happens to me all of the time, it seems.
Not a defective unit. What could I be missing? Think. Oh goodness, it’s so simple. I can’t believe I hadn’t considered this. What was I raised to do when situations weren’t working out like I thought they should? Was I raised to be a victim of circumstance? I sure wasn’t. I will, as I was raised to, pull myself up by my (metaphorical) boot straps and let this situation know whose running things.
A simple modification, in addition to fixing my current problem, will also reinforce the understanding that I deal with problems in a logical and clever manner. I really did think I was being clever, the solution seemed like the answer that had been right under my nose, but only now after waaaay overthinking the situation did I see what was so obvious. I, filled with a confidence only the ignorant could possess, elaborately rigged up my sunshade with enough Velcro to securely hold my prized new possession in proper working order through the apocalypse, if necessary. This, I thought, might even be an idea I could monetize. With little time or effort exerted I was able to strategically place precious Velcro strips in key locations, for maximum hold. I knew it, I was going to make a fortune. Why hadn’t someone thought of this already?
The only thing I didn’t reeeally consider was the effect that the temperature at this, the surface of the sun which, I was trying so hard to keep out, would have on my skillfully crafted Velcro adhesive upgrade attached to the windshield and sunshade.
The first time I went to use my custom modified Velcro sun screen I was going to the grocery store. I exited the car with the triumphant feeling a man has when he has built with his own hands the solution to his problems. I, like the great adventurers before our time who had cleverly found solutions to all that stood in their way, had transcended my problems and moved forward ready for whatever life could throw my way. Ten minutes later, upon returning I saw my precious creation barely dangling from my rearview mirror, that feeling was gone. I was again, a common man who couldn’t use a sunshade. I had no clue how this simple device worked. I dejectedly got back into my car and sat precariously on my scalding pleather sears, a failure.
I can’t remember exactly how long I struggled to try and make that pitiful Velcro modification work, even a day would have been too much time to devote to that contraption (it was more than a day). I do, however, vividly remember the day I realized the absurdity of my convoluted “traveling around your rear to get to your elbow” idea.
My roommate, Ryan, and I were off to do something on a very sunny day and I was driving. As we were getting ready to exit the car I, requesting this as normally as someone would request you to, say, roll up a window or manually lock your door, asked him to put the Velcro side up so my sunshade would stay up.
In a reaction that, in hindsight epitomizes graciousness, he said “Wait, what?” And it was during my explanation of this request that I began to realize how ridiculous my solution had been. Ryan gently explained to me that my idea was, while creative, totally unnecessary and showed me that it was as simple as folding down the sun visors that every car comes equipped with.
The adhesive won’t come completely off of my windshield or sunshade so it’s hard to feel superior on a sunny day in Texas.