Dueling Car Alarms, Breath, and the Alexander Technique

Boat aground in Puget Sound August 2010I have to write about the dueling car alarms today because every time I think of it I giggle.  You ask, what do car alarms have to do with breath and the Alexander Technique?  Read on!

Yesterday was a day in which 3 different cars were needed to transport children from school, to gymnastics, to piano lesson, as well as their Dad from the airport.  As Providence would have it, these things all transpired about the same time.  After all had been picked up and delivered to the activities or home, 2 of the cars and the keys needed to be exchanged.  Off we drove to meet at the piano teacher’s to exchange keys and cars.  The first omen that the adventure was not over occurred when we stopped to get some gas.  As we started leaving the gas station, the car alarm started singing.  Nothing we could do seemed to stop it and we drove off, alarm blaring, hoping it would stop. Happily it did!

Fast forward to arriving at the piano teachers home in a nice quiet neighborhood.  I exchanged texts with our daughter to let her know we were there with her car and would exchange.  As we got out of her car the alarm started announcing our arrival AGAIN!! Dueling car alarms! What to do?  When our daughter came out of the house she thought she had done something with the key to make the borrowed car sing.  She clicked the alarm on the key and behold we had two alarms sounding, even on different pitches.  Fairly quickly keys were exchanged and horns were silenced. The two of us looked at each other and laughed hilariously! I am sure that she and I found it much more funny than the neighbors. I am still giggling about it.

On a more serious note, how does the Alexander Technique and breath enter into this scenario? The stimulus of blaring horns could easily have escalated to panic and even anger, but in the study of the Alexander Technique we learn to stop and exhale the breath in moments of anxiety and challenge. In this case, that pause between stimulus and response allowed us to breathe, exchange keys, and best of all to see the humor in the situation.  I have learned to not reacct immediately to challenging  situations.  Sometimes that pause is only a second, sometimes much longer.  Last night, by not  reacting immediately and by pausing, hilarity and a moment of mutual humor was shared   I dare say I will never again hear a car’s alarm blaring without thinking of the night of the dueling alarms.

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