Friday, November 13, 2009

Luck and Pluck

Some days are gobsmacked. Born losers. No fighting it.
I woke to the sound of cursing in the kitchen. My son was using up precious time trying to slide back into the toaster oven the metal rack that I had removed last night to make room for some pizza slices, thereby forcing him to eat Cheerios this morning instead of the toasted waffles he so richly deserved. (Not pleasant, is it, having to read pizza and Cheerios in the same sentence.) So I gave him a ride, barely averting his being late for school, but throwing my morning into disarray. Later, I repeatedly failed in my attempt to pick up a Cheerio off the rug with my bare foot. It was that kind of day.

On the other hand, I successfully completed the Friday NYT crossword, learning in the process that a BOOSTERBOX is an item-concealing shoplifting aid; OSHKOSH is the seat of Winnebago County, and a TEASPOON is 1/768 of a gallon.

Today Friday and the number 13, on a collision course since the beginning of time, finally met. Not coincidentally, a large part of Arlington, including our house, suffered a power failure between 3 and 4 this afternoon. Still, as power failures go, it wasn't such a bad one. One quirky hour before it got dark. Minorly annoying having to reset the clocks on the answering machine and the computers. But it was sort of diverting taking a walk to Arlington center, calling, "Your power out, too?" and watching gobsmacked merchants in the doors of their darkened stores.

I once had an almanac calendar (free from the local drugstore) with each day inscribed with a one-word weather forecast: blustery, rain, clearing, pleasant, and so forth. This was in 1962, six months after my father had died. We had moved to El Paso, Texas, I was twelve, and I felt the need for a daily compass. So I took these forecasts as indicators of luck. When they didn't fit, I tried them backwards. It was better than random, I thought at the time. But random is more like what days are. And random allows for sifting, which may yield as much good luck as bad. Like today.

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