T his is like a Choose Your Own Adventure post. If you want the story of my desperate incompetence when it comes to public transportation, then read everything in the middle. If you’d rather just get to the life lesson, skip to the end!

This weekend I bought a ticket to go see a real, live cooking demonstration at the Miami Book Fair.  I’d never been to one before and a chef named Michael Love was giving a talk/demo based on his latest cookbook, The Salvage Chef Cookbook.

I used the Metromover to get there – a FREE way to get around Miami, which I think is revolutionary. Such a great thing! Until you don’t know how to use it to get home…

I got to the book fair just fine – maybe this was because I had gone through my route in detail with Bobby the night before. It took me a total of 8 minutes.

This is how I felt:

(I get big boosts of confidence rather easily.)

The cooking demonstration was great. I felt so fancy, sitting in the audience.

I hadn’t eaten before the lunchtime talk because I was going to a cooking demonstration. Obviously, there was going to be food. I would be fed that food.

The talk was great, but here is the grand sum of what I got for food…

That was it. I did not draw more croutons in that picture, not because squares are difficult for me to draw, but because I only ate ONE CROUTON.

Granted, it was the most delicious crouton I have ever consumed – it just didn’t exactly qualify for “lunch.”

No problem! I’m now a goddess of the Metromover and I’m only 8 minutes from home! I’ll eat when I get home!

I got on the Metromover for the “Brickell Loop.” I truly thought that I hopped on the correct car. Twenty minutes later, though, my stop still hadn’t come. I wasn’t too worried at this point, but I was starting to feel kind of weak and hungry. SCORE a seat opened up and I snagged it.

Directions have always confounded me, much to the chagrin of my girl scout mother and homing pigeon father. I knew I was on a loop and I just assumed that eventually that loop would get me to my stop. But then I started going past the same stops two, then three times. Huh.

I was officially sliding into the insane category.

I was too tired and hungry to move…that cold that I thought I beat? I didn’t. So I also felt kind of sick.

Yes, I felt like that emaciated snake. I started to wonder how many other smart, competent individuals have trouble with public transportation. (Unfortunately, I think I’m part of a pretty exclusive group.)

After ONE HOUR of this (remember, the book fair to my final stop was only supposed to be 0.7 miles away – yes, I realize I could have walked that at least four times over during the time I was slouched in my seat), a guy sat down beside me and proceeded to hit on me.

“Hi! My name is James. How you doing today?”
“Great, thanks, James.”
“You looking great.”
Oh geez.
“I’m 25, how old are you? You married?”
“28 and yes.”
“You still got it going on for 28!”

I was ancient in his eyes. I explained to him that I sincerely HOPED that I still “had it going on” at the tender age of 28.

Despite this unwanted attention, I knew this was a prime opportunity to figure out how to get home.   When I asked if our car would take us to my stop, James vigorously shook his head and told me that I had to switch trains, make a transfer etc etc.

I carefully repeated all of his directions back to make SURE I knew what I was doing. At this point, he volunteered, “I’ll just take you there.” Before I could protest, he’d jumped out of the car with me.

Within about 15 seconds, though, I think he remembered that I was MARRIED and that he had indeed been traveling somewhere before he sat next to me and became besties. So as quickly as he had volunteered to help me navigate the transfers home, he backed out of his offer and jumped back into the car.

This was fine by me.

It took me another 30 minutes to get home – this included getting on two more of the wrong routes before finally getting on the correct car.

It took me one hour and 32 minutes to go the span of 0.7 miles. I realize this is ridiculous.

Want to know the silver lining, life lesson that came to me through all of this ridiculous muck, though? I was reminded, yet again, that I’M NOT GOOD AT EVERYTHING. I always hate the memo, but I think it’s healthy every now and then.

I read this excellent interview with Shauna Niequist the other day. That quote stuck out to me and I wrote it out for future reference.

I think one of the biggest gifts we can give one another is permission to be our very own selves, with the gifts and limitations that come with that. I think so many of us, myself certainly included, are exhausted from decades of trying to be about fifteen more things than we were made to be. It takes courage to declare what we’re not, what we can’t do, what we were never made to do. And there’s so much power when we share that courage and permission with one another.

{Shauna Niequist}

I have some serious gifts and some serious limitations. This weekend, those limitations showed up in full force.

Now, when it comes to the Metro Mover, I’m pretty confident I can learn. But when it comes to constantly being up on world politics or calculus or easily remembering people’s names (or a thousand other things that don’t seem to be in my DNA)? I’m trying to give myself a little more permission to relish in my gifts and remember that I can’t do everything. To give myself permission to acknowledge that I was never made to do certain things.

I wrote this quote out twice, in fact, because it struck me so much…

…but I really only need one hanging on my wall. SO if you need the reminder as much as me, share in the comments some areas where you’re giving yourself grace. I’ll select one lucky recipient to get some mail art with one of the above pieces tucked inside!

Cheering you on in embracing all of your gifts and all of your limitations. xoxo