It happened again recently when I was charging to work with no time to spare. Already, I had turned into a raccoon when I sneezed while applying mascara. That was after I spent precious minutes replacing the bathroom light bulb. I could only find a 25-watt porch light, and then I opened the stepladder in the wrong direction and whacked my shin with the steps.
It was that kind of morning. And now I had crabby Fate leading the way.
As I turned from my neighborhood, I almost plowed into a humongous diesel pickup slowly pulling a trailer topped with a four-story yellow farm machine. By “slowly,” imagine a desert tortoise with sprained ankles.
I looked at the dashboard clock and shrieked incentives. But the gargantuan load filled the entire roadway, and I couldn’t see past it to determine if it was safe to pass. So I crept behind it, steamy expletives fogging my windows.
When the truck finally lumbered into a turn, I raced ahead, trying to make up lost time. That lasted until I saw the nose of a police car peeking from behind a pyramid of dirt in an empty lot. I swallowed back stomach acid and slowed down to the posted limit, one eye on the clock.
Then I came to the highway and a red light. I groaned. Now I would get the red at each of the six traffic lights before the Interstate. I told sniggering Fate to buckle up because we were going to make the next green light.
The light turned and I shot away, a blue blur – until I saw the white pickup at the curb a block ahead. Fate laughed as I slowed to precisely 4.5 mph over the posted speed limit and held it there until the cop was a safe dot in my rear-view mirror. I spurred the ponies under my hood, and barreled forward.
But Fate had other plans. This time, a school bus wallowed into my path as the lanes merged into one going onto the highway. How ironic, I griped: Late to school because of a school bus!
Sure enough, the bus driver took the curve at a geriatric 40 mph, my car chomping at the rear. By the time the bus accomplished highway speed, another three minutes had elapsed. Now, I had just seven minutes to eat up 12 miles of Interstate and another three miles to the parking lot. I passed the bus and floored it to 80.
Two miles later – I’m not kidding – brake lights signaled cars slowing ahead, and I screamed “NOOOOOO!” My stomach churned as we inched past the scene of a rollover. “C’mon, c’mon, just drive!” I screamed helpfully to the spectators ahead.
One would think these obstacles enough satisfaction for Fate that morning. But I have two words to add: The Roundabout. The one that’s been unpaved for approximately four years.
And that, my friends, is how I ended up late to work last week.
Why I crunched through half a jar of Tums during first period. And why I gave that killer pop quiz.
It was Fate.