I have long held a personal philosophy of ‘work hard, play hard’. I know it’s not original, nor is it ever going to be the subject of “Discuss” on a philosophy exam paper. In fact, let’s be honest, it’s a sort of Mars Bar philosophy on life…but nevertheless it works for me. If I don’t feel that I’ve achieved something at the end of the day then I’m usually irritable and find it difficult to relax. If, on the other hand, I’ve worked hard and achieved results, the sound of a beer can opening is music to my ears and I can settle down to a movie or listen to some sounds with a light heart and an easy mind.
So I can easily appreciate the symbiotic relationship of the yin and yang of life.
The same is true of living in this island paradise. Often, days can be filled with frustrated attempts to move forward in even the simplest of matters and it feels like all the negative energy is stacked in your direction.
Like the two minute job of posting a package which turns into a half day’s lost production courtesy of the Correos (Post Office), or the trudging from shop to shop in search of even the most basic of items because re-stocking on a weekly basis appears to be beyond the wit of the average supermarket, or spending all morning without electricity because someone forgot to flick a switch when they put the cables back into the road.
But then there are days when the yin and yang scales tip the balance back in favour of our Tenerife lifestyle.
Yesterday was one such day.
We had a meeting scheduled in the south of the island and we left the house in plenty of time. As we approached the car, we saw that one of the rear tyres was flat, and I don’t just mean it needed air, I mean ‘metal rim in contact with tarmac’ flat.
After a few perfunctory swear words, Jack got to work removing the spare tyre and toolkit from the boot and wrestling with the jack to free it from its handy moulded plastic container.
As he began to jack up the wheel, I thought I might try to hurry things along a little by loosening the bolts. After about a nano-second I gave up entirely on that idea and just watched as the veins in Jack’s neck stuck out with the exertion of pushing on the brace. At one point he finally managed to loosen one and it spun his hand downwards, scraping his knuckle along the ground and removing a slice of the flesh…ouch!
Sweating, hands covered in oil which was mingling with the bloody knuckle, Jack finally managed to get the wheel off and the temporary spare on and we set off to the Vultesa garage at the top of the road.
The speed and efficiency with which one man repaired the puncture, removed the temporary wheel and re-affixed the newly repaired wheel was a joy to behold. It took him approximately 11 minutes in all, not pit stop speed (but then I doubt he’s on pit-stop wages) but certainly impressive enough.
I paid the bill (the princely sum of €5), threw a euro into the tips basket and we were on the road, just half an hour or so later than planned.
The flat tyre had been a negative force but it could have happened while we were on the TF1 which would have been far worse. The need to repair the tyre took us to a local business with smiley staff who knew what they were doing and set us back on the road with the minimum of fuss; a very positive experience.
Although we arrived late in Los Cristianos for our meeting of the 7C Marketing Group, everyone had waited patiently for us and we spent the rest of the morning receiving copious pearls of wisdom from John (sorted-sites.com) and sharing laughs and experiences with Julie (Tenerife-tattle.com), Joe (MyTenerifeinfo.com) and Colin (canary-green.com), rounded off by a great lunch courtesy of John.
As we drove back up the TF1 mid-afternoon, we felt like a part of a community that, although it’s invisible and only virtual most of the time, is as real as the skinned knuckle on Jack’s hand. A community that works unseen to raise the profile of its own and other’s web presence; a cyberspace circle of friendship and a part of the yin and yang of living on Tenerife.