Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bad Luck

The universe wants something from me: I'm just not sure what it is yet. That is what I think as I scan the campground, the one by the gas station.
At the campsite next to mine a group of men have just strung up a banner that says "Guys Camp", and they have unloaded approximately ten cases of beer onto their picnic table. You might think that I could go someplace else, but I lost control of the situation a long time ago.
While I was trying to get to the mountains there were all these delays: a family crisis, a trip to the emergency vet, that problem with the computer. The computer should have been the easy one, but that was where things really fell apart.
You know how sometimes while you're keeping a responsible, detached eye on the crisis part of your life you end up having a tantrum about something unrelated? Okay, I'm talking about me. Maybe you don't do that. My meltdowns usually involve electronics.
Now, I am aware that I have a high-voltage temper, and that when I get upset the forest falls silent and strangers cross to the other side of the road. The other thing that happens is that electronics go on the fritz. It's like they do it on purpose just to taunt me.
All of a sudden, overwhelm sneaks in the back door. I know that yelling at computers doesn't help. As a matter of fact, it always makes things worse. I do it anyway.
The cats hide. The dogs try to climb into my lap. I take a time-out, lying on the floor. The camera and computer decide to cooperate, somewhat. I get the job done, more or less.
Shopping for camping supplies (and beer, of course, because I deserve it), I check my bank balance and it says zero (ATM's are not immune to my electricity).
The sun is on the down side of its arc.
Finally, finally, I throw camping gear into the car. Yes, I throw it. And I whistle for the dog that doesn't have a cone on her head and we roar off to the gas station where (I swear I am not making this up) they are out of gas.
But that's okay, I think, because I have a quarter tank, so I'll drive up into the mountains first  and then fill up.
And later that afternoon at the last Kum-N-Go before the Continental Divide, the gas refuses to go into the tank. It simply overflows onto the side of the car. I check the fuel type, adjust the positioning of the nozzle. I try a different pump. You might think I'd never pumped gas before. You might think the tank is already full. Alas, no. Why is this happening to me, I think? Do gas pumps count as electronics? I'm calm now, I think. Well, calmer.
So now I have--maybe--enough gas to get home. I can either give up on my camping trip and return home to the continuing family crisis and the dog with the cone on her head and my lovely husband who will be happy to see me or I can camp by the gas station. Yes, there's a campground. I's not like I pitch my tent in the parking lot. I am stubborn so I choose option two.
So there I am, hunkered down by the gas station. It rains. Then it thunder-hails. And while I am in the outhouse, the dog chews a hole in the tent the size of a basketball.
But it's all good. I spoon with the dog. I have beer. I am in the mountains.
In the morning I crawl out of my tent, stretch and yawn. My attitude has improved. This could be an adventure! Standing by the picnic table, I think, perhaps I'm here to meets someone who will share with me their vast wisdom. A few cars drive by without stopping. Oh, well.
No use waiting around for my adventure. The way things have been going, it's unavoidable. So I go for a hike and drink a beer and stare into space. And nothing happens. I don't meet anyone or rescue any orphans or have any epiphanies.
As an adventure, it's kind of lame, honestly, but it's pleasant. It's okay.
Is the universe trying to tell me to go home and wade into that family crisis? No. I refuse. Is it saving me from death or dismemberment on the high mountain pass where I had planned to camp?
I'm not sure, but I stubbornly stay there for three days, then  load up my dog and my camping gear. The gas pump works just fine on the way back to the city. My husband and cone-head dog greet me cheerfully. Apparently I wasn't needed at home.
Days later I am still obsessing, because there has got to be a reason for all of this, right? I scan the news. I Google "accident", "psychopath" and "death". And then I find it: a woman was killed by lightning, hiking a trail that I might have hiked, if I'd had my way. In an alternate reality it could have been me. But it wasn't. And isn't that a little over-dramatic? Like thousands of other people enjoying the mountains that day, I probably would have been just fine.
So that leaves me back where I started: still looking for a reason.