I pulled into my driveway one Friday afternoon and turned off the car. When I tried to remove the key, it wouldn't come out. The lock had failed, the key was jammed, and the car wouldn't budge. As I dialed around for a good locksmith, it occurred to me that this could have happened when I was out in the middle of nowhere, late for an appointment, or in some sort of emergency situation. But it was the weekend and there was nowhere in particular I had to be before Monday.
Then there was the time my husband got food poisoning when he ate the last piece of lasagne off a steam table at closing time. He spent the night in the emergency room hooked up to an i.v. drip. But he managed to catch that bug just a week after the health insurance on his new job kicked in, so we didn't have to give up Christmas that year to pay the medical bills.
When the stock market crashed in October, 1929, everyone with a bank balance was suddenly broke. While their neighbors went into a panic, my newlywed grandparents greeted the delivery truck with joy—my grandfather had cleaned out their bank account the night before, spending their last dime on furniture for their new house! My grandmother, who had been furious the night before, forgave him. To this day the oriental rug in my bedroom, the same rug that was in the bedroom where she had her five children, is there to remind me that good timing is sometimes even better than good luck.
Everyone has back luck some times. Parts wear out, money comes and goes, people get sick and die. But having your bad luck at the right time is a blessing. Like when your parking meter runs out just after the meter maid has gone by…. Like when you break a heel on a date you weren't enjoying and wanted to go home anyway… Like when you get an 'F' in math after the course begins, when there's still time to improve.
How about the Loma Prieta Earthquake? A devastating shaker at 6.9 on the Richter scale that could have killed thousands? But it was the night of the Bay Bridge world series, and everyone was either in the stadium or at home, very few were on those shaking streets. What terrible luck for buildings to burn, highways to collapse, and bricks to fall! But overwhelmingly the story you heard in the following days started with, "We were lucky."
Some day I want to write a fairy tale in which, like in Sleeping Beauty, a bad aunt curses a newborn princess with bad luck. And then the good aunt (who was in the bathroom at the time, what timing) comes in at the end and softens the blow: "Yes, but your bad luck will only occur at the most convenient and fortuitous times."
Causes Kristen Caven Supports
350.org, IdleFreeOakland.org, Public Education, Public Radio, Department of Peace (ThePeaceAlliance.org), Planned Parenthood, Room to Read.