Lana Vaughan

The Queen of Questions

Are you a Dip Stick?

This week I have spent time in a foreign word. For many of you it is very familiar and bookends your work day. But for me commuter traffic is something I am able to avoid. The school I drive my daughter to during the school year is 3 stop lights away. Summer music camp at San Jose State University is 10 miles away, most of it heavily traveled freeways leading into downtown San Jose. She has to be there at 8 am so we hit the height of traffic. Picking her up at 6:30 pm puts us back on the same freeways with many of the same people trying to get home. I do not care much for their world and rejoice that today ends my commuter status for another year.

The afternoon round trip downtown I get to ride shotgun. My favorite person in the whole wide world comes home through the commute traffic only to take the wheel of our mini van and drive back into the frey to pick up our daughter. He is also my chief mechanic and yesterday the faithful mini van was having trouble shifting gears. I can relate. Shifting from one thing to another often causes me to rev my engine too much and make loud clunking sounds when I finally find second.

dipstickAs we were just about to head out the door this morning, he decided he wanted to check the transmission fluid before I took to the road. Moving the van out of the driveway and on the level ground of the street, he pulled out the transmission dipstick. It was dry. Not low. Not needing to be topped off but totally dry.

Pulling the van back in the driveway he said he would take our daughter to camp in the truck. Within just a few minutes, disaster was averted ( I didn’t drive a van with no transmission fluid), plans were changed ( instead of jumping in the shower to get ready for work he jumped in the truck and delivered daughter) and I began to consider dipsticks.

It’s really a simple thing. A thin flat piece of metal with a few markings and a way to grasp the end. But checking it is crucial to the operation of any engine. Too much or not enough of whatever it measures can make all the difference. There is no judgement or criticism from the dip stick. Just a simple registration of what is or isn’t. The fluid is there or not.

Then comes the decisions. Do I drive it based on the dipstick? Do I need to refill? Have I over filled? The dipstick doesn’t make the decision. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It just shows you what is.

Are you the kind of person who reflects what is? Do you know when someone is running empty or overfilled? Can you show that without judgement or criticism? Do people check in with you to help them get a good reading of how their engine is running? Are you a good dipstick?


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