Posted by: Ariel | March 26, 2012

Fate is a cruel snake, with bitter herbs and spices

It was cold today, near freezing after a week of summertime seventies, and I’d just gotten my second parking ticket of the week. I had screamed as loud as I could in the car, after checking to make sure nobody was watching. The only thing left to do was decide what I would deprive myself of, in order to make up the money. It was going to be hard to do; this was in a whole different league than cancelled cheeseburgers and a week of no grapefruit juice.

All I wanted to do was have some laughs at improv practice, so I pulled up the school shuttle’s online schedule. It went from the train station straight to campus, and it’d be the easiest way. I was a little worried about missing it, so I hurried out the door at 4:30 with the bus due to leave at 4:40. Plenty of time.

The only thing worse than public transit not having a set timetable, is having a set timetable and ignoring it. The shuttle was gone when I got there, left early I assume, though I may never know for sure. I waited for five minutes to make sure it wasn’t just late, before walking up to the train platform. Not to worry, the trusty train would still get me there well before improv started at 5:15. As I crossed the street I saw the train I wanted pulling out of the station. Thirty seconds later I was alone on the platform with the gusting wind. I started to get irrationally angry. I took it personally that whether I took car, bus, or train, the world would find a way to make me suffer. Instead of going to the leeward side of the wall, I stood facing the wind, daring it to numb me, and maybe hoping it would.

At 5:00 I was chatting with a homeless man who told me how he knew from the clouds that it wasn’t going to rain. Not because he was a meteorologist, he said, but because he had been rained on so much, he’d eventually just figured it out. I was beginning to realize that I wouldn’t be going to improv when the PA system clicked on and I was told how both northbound and southbound trains would be indefinitely delayed due to an emergency farther down the line. It was meant to be this way. As the homeless man cheered me on with a whoop, I walked down the up escalator, trying to find a pace where I could make no progress at all. I kept that rhythm for a while, trying to stop dwelling on what had happened, and to reach the beginning of acceptance. In the end, these things are facts: the Earth is not the center of the universe, and the world does not revolve around me. As I walked out of the station I saw the next scheduled shuttle bus pull up to the stop, five minutes early. By the time I’d walked half a block, it was gone.

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