Stuck in the mud

It was going to be tight. Google Maps said I would make it with only a few mins to spare. Unload the keyboard and the rest of the gear, get setup, a quick conversation about the songs and keys, and we would be hopefully good to go by the time the bride was ready to walk down the aisle.

But Google Maps isn’t always correct. And this time, of all times, the time when I really needed it to be, it wasn’t. It brought me down an unused road, which was initially passable, but soon became a dirt track. I knew it seemed risky., but I didn’t have time to turn around and find an alternative route. It was this or be 30 mins late.

But it had been raining. Heavily.

And so the car ground to a halt. Agonisingly close to the end of the track. I could even see the point where the surface improved, and I was only a few miles from the church, but I couldn’t get my car through the mud, and time was running out. Feelings of panic, of shame, of stupidity started to take over.

It was my lucky day however. If Sinéad Conway – my companion on the wedding circuit for years – had been travelling with me (as usually happened), there would have been no music at the wedding. If Sinéad’s husband wasn’t with her on that day (99 times out of 100 he wasn’t), there would have been no music at the wedding. If this dirt track was much further away from the church, there would have been no music at the wedding.

Thankfully, Steve could come and pick me and the gear up while Sinéad explained the situation to the bride, who did a few extra laps of the village and took a few extra photographs while we rescued the situation. We were late starting, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

So, we know that things go wrong. A virus can wreak havoc on the whole world in a matter of weeks. Technologies can be imperfect. I have written in this column before about not trying things because of a fear of what could go wrong. And this is certainly not the answer. But neither is the deliberate ignorance of possible pitfalls on your path.

‘I don’t have time for that now’. ‘I can’t be bothered’. ‘I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it’. All things we say to make ourselves feel better in the moment that usually come back to bite us in the end. The if/then strategy is a far better solution. If this obstacle arises, then this is the way I will deal with it.

Google Maps had failed me before. But I was happy to rely on it nevertheless, and it backfired on me. A Plan B, an extra few minutes built into journey times to allow for these imperfections would have saved me, Sinéad, Steve and the bride and groom a lot of stress that day.

Cross the bridge now.

*Column 8 for the Sligo Weekender. Published 22/10/20.

Photo by María Gámez on Unsplash