June 15th, 2005

obscure mythologies (photograph)

Another great post overtaken by events

You know ... I had something really clever to say here last night.

My car's engine seized up and died while taking my sister (writer of seguace_blog) to the Sacramento Airport. This could have involved all sorts of inconvenience and badness beyond just the car repair. If it had stopped on the way, we probably would have had to spring for a taxi, and she might have missed her flight. If it had stopped on the way back, I would have been stranded with no cell phone or AAA coverage. As it turns out, by some cosmic coincidence, it died as we were pulling into the parking garage at the airport; she went inside to get her boarding pass and check a piece of luggage, and then came back out to the parking lot, called for roadside service, and helped me get it towed back to Auburn before dashing back inside to board.

If the car had asked me to pick a time for it to die out on the road, there would have been no better golden, shining moment than the one it chose. It was probably going to go in the near future anyway, and if it had seized up during Kady's commute (we've been swapping cars since mine gets better gas mileage), she'd have been stuck in the same no-phone-no-service bind, possibly 10-15 miles from the nearest town along Highway 49.

By an odd coincidence, last night was also when I laid out a story in today's newspaper about a motorcyclist who had a truck fall on him and walked out of the accident. Between that, a few other near misses in my personal life, and some situations a few friends of mine are going through, I was going to make an observation about the age-old debate: Is the (ostensibly ancient Chinese) saying "May you live in interesting times" a blessing or a curse?

The answer is: No. It's a statement unto itself. It implies good luck and ill; it can't be contained by either. It might be more accurately characterized as "WTF?" luck (or some catchy variation thereof, such as "WTL"), I was thinking yesterday. After all, that motorcyclist who nearly got smeared into road pancake is obviously quite lucky he was able to walk away from having a truck fall on him -- but if he'd just left the house ten seconds earlier, he wouldn't have been in the accident at all.

Anyway. I was going to post all that last night. Didn't have time. And then I discovered this morning that the car doesn't need repair, it needs junking. Engine = very no. That's not a good prize.

So, um. Yeah.

"Living in interesting times" is kind of like dodging bullets. It means you're doing alright, except oh wait somebody's shooting at you. And, by definition, you're not exactly living in interesting times any more if you get shot. Then you're just some shmuck who got in a gunfight. Maybe if they liked you they can put the number of bullets you dodged on your tombstone.