So, Saturday afternoon I was selling popcorn with a bunch of waist-high cub scouts at our local Walmart. My phone rings, which is a tiny miracle as I rarely remember to charge it.
“Didn’t you get your car inspected?”
It was M. He was in my car, along with his dad and two of our sons. He was pulled off on the side of the road frantically searching the glove compartment for some proof that he’d married a reasonable woman who did things like remember to get her car inspected before five months past the deadline.
“I definitely got the car inspected. I think it was in June right after I got that ticket for not having it inspected.”
Sense a theme?
“Well, according to the sticker on the windshield and the lack of paperwork in the glove box, you actually didn’t get your car inspected.”
We went back and forth like this until there was nothing more to say. I went back to selling popcorn to obese people and M gracefully accepted the ticket from the trooper and went home.
This week? Not the best week ever.
On Monday I called the Honda people. I love the Honda people. They sold us our car, they call us when the oil needs attention, and they lend us other cars when our cars need to spend the night. Turns out? I didn’t get the car inspected. Or, rather, I got the car inspected back in June, just as I suspected, but it failed to pass. Oh.
So, I brought the car in for another inspection – this one, they promise, I will pass – and they find a leak from the hoompa loompa bleepity burg. If it leaks too much on the wawahaha, the wawahaha will cost $600 to fix. But, since we caught it in time due to my having to repeat the inspection, it will only cost $200 to fix the hoompa loompa bleepity burg. Win! Apparently there was a reason I erased the failed inspection from my addled brain! There was a reason poor M was mortified to be pulled over by a cop! That fraught series of events actually saved us $400 dollars. Even if we have to pay the ticket, we’ll still be ahead.
I know. It sounds like magical thinking and automobile religion, all rolled up in a phyllo dough that is too light to believe. But. Is that any different from how we all live our lives every single day? We all hold dear this thought: that if we commit to a 401K, that if we kiss our blessed children every night, if we never say goodbye without meaningful looks of dearness, if we use special shampoo to keep our hair thick and luxurious, if we slip dark green vegetables between the layers of cheese, if we increase our heart rate three times a week, our lives will be satisfactory and limited only by the walls we choose. The urge to find beneficial cause and effect is strong. I chose long ago to embrace it.
So keep knocking on wood, inspecting your pores and chucking salt over your left shoulder; the world, it holds terror and senseless luck. All we can do is hold onto our rabbits’ feet and find delight in the unaccountable.