Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rendez-Vous

I had a minor crisis erupt on Friday, which involved a whole bunch of driving and a fair amount of stress.  I was operating on a whopping 4 hours of sleep on Saturday, which is not something I'm good at.

What I am good at, for better or for worse, is deciding that if a problem is fixable, I'm gonna fix it.  I get disturbingly determined on that front.

I think it comes from having dealt with problems that weren't fixable for a bunch of years. If it can be fixed, I'll be fixing it.  Immediately.

But that isn't what I want to blog about.  What I want to describe is how this problem could have gone unfixed and escalated exponentially until it became a really serious problem, if not for a series of random coincidences.

I only discovered it because I happened to be looking for something else.

I wouldn't have been looking for something else if I hadn't bumped into that reporter on Wednesday and given him my name for his story.

I wouldn't have bumped into the reporter if I hadn't decided to go blueberry picking in spite of the fact that my car's AC was broken.  A reporter in a berry patch at 8:30 in the morning.  Think of the odds.

Because my car's AC was broken, I took it to be fixed on Friday morning.  They tried to fix it and couldn't--the parts they had ordered actually didn't work.  So, they had to order the parts again.

They called to tell me this when the other crisis was unfolding.  And then they told me that they were going to give me a loaner car, to use all weekend, free of charge, and I could simply come pick up my own car on Monday.

They gave me a hybrid.  It gets 50 miles to the gallon.  This is what pulled into my driveway just as I was discovering that I was going to have to embark on an 8-10 hour drive.

I told my best friend yesterday that I think that I have guardian spirits out there and that, although the rule of thumb seems to be that they can't prevent bad things from happening, they can sure as shootin' arrange the surrounding circumstances so that things work very much in my favor.

Because this has happened before.  The day I found my house--the perfect house for me, exactly where and what I wanted, totally in my price range--I found it the morning after the guy I had been seeing was a total jerk to me.

It became clear that "it" was "over," I got all of about 3 hours of sleep, and then I had to get up and go house-hunting.  I didn't feel up to it, initially, but let's just say that, two hours later, I was a very happy camper, smiling and signing papers right and left.

My friends still chuckle over the fact that I went on and on and on about how perfect this house was, and when they said, "So, how's What's-His-Name doing?", I said, "Oh, that's over."  When they said, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," I said, "Yeah... hey, did I tell you this house has a fireplace and hardwood floors?"

That kind of karma has my dad written all over it.  He would know exactly what would cheer me up and distract me instantly: the perfect house.  I can even hear him saying, "Okay, get rid of that guy and get her a house."

The closing was the day before the 4-year anniversary of my dad's death.  I didn't pick the date: that's what was given to me.  I'm just sayin'. 

A similar thing happened when I went to donate to my best friend's Ultimate Hike last year.  She hikes every year in memory of her son, Ezra.  I tried to use my credit card and it wouldn't go through, wouldn't go through, wouldn't go through.

Finally, I began to get nervous that it would go through--three times.  And that I'd have all of the attempts  racked up to my account.  So I went online to check.

When I did, I saw an odd little charge on my credit card that I hadn't made.

Nothing big.  Just a weird little $30 charge to a phone company in the middle of a bunch of other small charges that I knew that I had made.  I hadn't made any $30 phone calls...

Turns out, my credit card number had been stolen.  This is what they do: they get the number and then they "test" to see if it works.  The fraud rep. said, "They watch the card and bury a small charge in the middle of a bunch of other activity.  If it goes through, then the next charge they make is usually made in the middle of the night.... for thousands of dollars."

I told my best friend, "I think Ezra was looking out for me."  Because actually, the only reason my card wouldn't go through was because the credit card company thought the Hike donation looked like "suspicious activity" and blocked it.  They hadn't spotted the actual fraudulent charge--and I wouldn't have caught it if the Hike donation hadn't been blocked.

On Friday night, in the middle of my drive, a silly, feel-good, Elton John song from the early 1990's came on the radio.  I hadn't heard this song since... 1990, I think.  It always made me laugh--I'm not sure why.  Probably because it's pretty silly.

The video is even sillier, but for good reason.  Elton John's record company wanted a video for the song, but he was busy spending time with Ryan White, the Indiana boy who was expelled from middle school in 1984, when it was discovered that he contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion.  (White died in April of 1990.) That's why the video is entirely animated.

For some reason, when I heard the song, I started to laugh and I knew, "This problem is fixable, and it will get fixed."  And I started to think about all of the strange circumstances that put me in a position to fix it.

"Me and you, rendez-vous."

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."