Luck and the Rule of Threes: Part Two (conclusion)
When we closed yesterday’s chapter, my water heater had sprung a huge leak late one night, but I was leaving the following afternoon for several weeks. The home warranty company had dragged its feet, until I found a kindred soul, who promised to make my case an “emergency,” or so she said.
This is how last chapter ended:
“Tell you what,” the home warranty rep said. “I can call you back at noon and make it an emergency.”
“I’ll be at a lunch meeting,” I said. “Why can’t you make it an emergency NOW?”
“I can’t disclose our secret rules,” she said, “but trust me. At noon it’ll be an emergency.
——————– and the story continues….
And sure enough, noon came and she called back with an emergency plumber. The tank would be replaced on Monday for a small co-pay. My Tampa nephew would supervise. All was right with the world.
After my lunch meeting I rushed out to the parking garage. I had a flight to catch. Sitting in downtown Tampa traffic waiting to make a left turn, I realized that I was not sure if I was in a left turn lane. A big truck blocked my view of any signs that would confirm it. I figured I had even odds of being right , and made the turn.
I saw the red and blue lights in my rearview mirror and pulled over.
A very nice young police officer asked for my license. I explained that I thought I was in a turn lane, I couldn’t see over the truck.
I was nice. I didn’t argue.
“You should’ve gone straight,” he said, as he wrote me a ticket. Great. Just bad luck.
The ticket was $120, less if I’d sit through a day of gory accident films in a safe driving course. I wished him a good day and drove to the airport, careful about my lanes when I turned.
I’d had two episodes of pretty bad luck in less than 24 hours. It occurred to me that bad luck comes in threes. What else might be in store?
Would a black cat cross my path next?
I had a 4pm flight from Tampa, getting into San Jose late at night.
This was the plan: My beau would pick me up at 10:30pm Pacific time (1:30am Tampa time) and then we would drive an hour and a half to my condo at on the Pacific coast. ETA (after waiting for the 47 lb bag I checked) would be about 12:30 am. (3:30am Tampa time)
As we hit the freeway, I realized with horror what the third piece of bad luck was.
My condo complex had a big glass entry door that locks automatically at 9:30pm. The key to that glass door was not in my briefcase with the unit key.
It was inside my condo. I needed to get in the glass entry door before I could enter my condo.
The garage door opener, a secondary way to get in, was inside my car. Which was inside the garage. That I couldn’t get into.
“Hmm,” my beau pondered. “Let’s be optimistic. Is it the kind of thing where you can call someone to let you in?”
No. No, it wasn’t. A nice thought. Optimistic, even. But even he knew it wasn’t the kind of thing where we could call.
We continued to think. Maybe someone would happen to be walking in after midnight from a big Friday night out, and we could get in that way. Or even driving in.
I reviewed the demographics of my small condo complex and realized what a dim hope that was.
Well, in the worst case, we could check into a motel and try again when the door opened in the morning.
Except that the accommodations in the Carmel-Pacific Grove area were mostly upscale B&Bs that don’t answer the bell for strangers at 1am.
And of course, my beau wouldn’t be there when the glass door opened in the morning. He was leaving (with his truck) at 6:30am for training for his new career as a security guard (don’t ask-another story for another day).
I would have to take a cab from a motel to the condo. I pictured myself sitting in front of the glass door, sleep-deprived, with my 47 lb suitcase, my rolling briefcase and my laptop, waiting for it to unlock.
No, not a pretty picture.
“Let’s be optimistic,” my beau said.
Let’s not, I thought to myself.
We pulled up in front of a completely dark complex. It was 12:30am and not a creature was stirring. All windows in the complex are dark. Dark as the Pacific Grove night. He tried the glass door. It was locked.
We walked around the pitch black block to the garage. Shut up tight.
Then I remembered that during renovations, my undocumented workers snuck in through some back fence. We started to walk around looking for it, when I remembered something else.
There had been recent mountain lion sightings on my block. In fact, one had confronted a jogger from 20 feet just the day before. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” she said in a newspaper story.
Dude. No kidding.
Cats are nocturnal and I was certain one was lurking in the bushes ready to make us a late night snack. I suggested we go get the truck instead of wandering around in the dark like tempting big cat food.
We found the fence -a chain link with sharp tips—and pulled up in front. Beau tried the gate.
He stood in front of the fence a full 30 seconds.
Then started climbing. In a shake he was over the fence and the door was open.
And not a single rip in his khakis.
The lesson about the Rule of Threes is this: sometimes it holds true and sometimes it doesn’t.
But there was a bigger lesson.
While I love my independence and am absolutely a feminist, one thing became very clear that day:
There is a reason God created man.