I think it’s time to blame the majority of my problems on the voodoo of self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, last week’s paranoia gave way to a flood of dark omens. On Monday I was run off the road by a car that veered into my lane just as I removed my seatbelt. I had to divert myself out of the street and into a shrubbery. Later that day I discovered the back end of a bunny hanging from the front of The Goat Man’s cherry red Volkswagen Beetle. He’d somehow managed to hit it straight on and wedge the front half of its body into his grill, leaving it dangling like a vile hood trophy.
Everywhere I looked, I saw doom.
The next day was busier and even more deadly. I attended a series of events that required me to hobnob with VIPs and pretend I’m not a social deviant with all sorts of subversive agendas. I went from breakfast with the Governor, to a banquet with our legislators, and then a series of meetings all over the city.
When the day finally ended, I trudged across the parking lot to my car. I opened the door, threw my bag inside, and screamed.
At some point in my long list of comings and goings, this tiny mouse had decided that of all the places it could forage for food or hope of a better life, it needed to jump in my car. I’ve thought this through and there’s really only a 5-second window of opportunity for such an endeavor. This poor little rodent had poorly calculated his plan.
I backed away in horror and immediately called The Boyfran. This was no time for female empowerment and I chose to disregard the fact I’d traveled all over SE Asia where rats are the size of Schnauzers. I very rarely make actual phone calls, so he immediately answered.
“I have a situation,” I said, “You need to come here now.”
“What about the gym?”
“This is life and death!”
I told him what had happened and he started laughing.
“Can’t you just scrape it off?” he asked.
“But it looks so peaceful.” I stepped forward to take a photo. “Hurry up, I’m going to die here.”
I stood in the burning hot parking lot for 20 minutes. The Boyfran finally arrived and walked to the driver’s side like he was coming onto the scene of a CSI investigation.
“Where’s the body?”
I pointed silently, then whimpered.
“I’m a terrible human.”
“Don’t worry,” The Boyfran said, “He died instantly.”
I stepped away as he used his shoe to scrape the lifeless body off my doorframe. I covered my ears so I wouldn’t hear the sound of its sad little existence thudding onto the concrete.
Despite my horror, I glanced at its body like a rubbernecker at a highway accident.
“I think we should bury him,” I said.
“We are not burying it. If this were in your house, you would try to poison it.”
I couldn’t argue with that. We stood in silence. I was just about to give a moving speech about the value of it’s stunted life when The Boyfran began acting like he was going to kick the sad rodent carcass at me.
“Stop it!” I screamed. “That’s one of God’s creatures!”
He held his hands up in surrender and carefully scooted the mouse off the pavement and into the grass.
“Maybe a bird will eat it,” he said.
It was a small comfort to think about how I’d just contributed to The Circle of Life, but there was no way I was ready to move on and go to the gym. We needed to sit shiva and honor this loss of life with Tex Mex.
We stopped by my house so I could change out from my Governor-worthy clothing. As I stepped out the bathroom, a flash of black appeared at my feet.
“It’s a mouse!” The Boyfran yelled from the bottom of the stairs.
I screamed and kicked it away as I ran down the hall. I’d already realized it was a black sock he’d thrown at me, but I was in fight or flight mode.
“You’re evil,” I told him. “You deserve bad things to happen to you.”
“Don’t say that. I could die.”
It’s true. The darkness was closing in.
We went to a taco place and bathed ourselves in queso as we pondered the mystery that is death. I was fixated on the idea that I was cursed and described in detail how a murder of crows had been waiting on my car during lunch, signifying my looming demise. On second thought, they may have pegged me as the sort of person that transports carrion just inside her vehicle.
Somewhere around my second taco, I had an epiphany. The mouse wasn’t an omen of death, but a testament to the way the universe is watching out for me. If I hadn’t snuffed its life out with the slam of a door, it would have gotten into the car with me. I would have started driving and made it onto a heavily trafficked street before realizing I’d been invaded by vermin. There’s no telling how I would have reacted but I can assure you it would not have been reasonable or safe.
“Many lives could have been lost,” I said. “That mouse was a sacrifice.”
It’s easy for me to fixate on all the ways my life is a disaster. But for every unfortunate thing, I can easily imagine a way it could have been ten thousand times worse. By all accounts, I’m actually quite lucky.
Do you believe in self-fulfilling prophecies? Are you a lucky or unlucky person? How important do you think perspective is, when evaluating your life?
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