Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I once went out with a guy who claimed I had luck. Not good luck, or bad luck, just luck in general. I was born with a disability that affects 1 person in 400—this was how I started life. If there is a slight, slight risk of a medication having some weird side effect, I will get it. If there is slight, slight risk of a great success, somehow I will find it. My luck if you will, seems to go from one extreme to the other. So much so that I worry about getting fortuitous whip lash and then wonder if while in the emergency room I would have good luck or bad luck resulting in malpractice and having my head amputated.
I didn’t used to believe in luck at all, even after my friend mentioned that I had luck. After all, as a Christian I believe that things happen for reasons, or at least I used to believe that. Now, I’m seriously beginning to wonder…
While having dinner with friends at a restaurant, which I will currently leave nameless, I excused myself and went into the disabled toilet. In the UK accessible loos are completely separate rooms from the men’s room or the ladies room, and my date was courteous enough to wait outside the accessible toilet for me. While washing my hands, I heard a hugely loud crash, which in turn made me jump and forced me to fall over into a puddle of water. When I finally turned around to see what had made the crash I realized that the toilet had fallen completely off the wall. Having just gotten up off of the thing, I’m still deeply disturbed by the incident several days later. Water was not gushing out of the hole in the wall as if a fire hydrant had been opened. My trousers, my everything was soaked, and my friend outside yelled to make sure I was okay and asked what happened. When he asked me this question I literally had no words to explain what had taken place. I did the simplest thing I knew to do. I unlocked the door in order to show him the scene of the disaster.
There’s something about when you “beat the odds” which takes a second to register. Visiting my parents in Vegas, there’s always that second when money starts pouring out of a slot machine and leaves a gambler stupefied and wondering if the world is going to collapse around them. It reminds me of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant who explains that you cannot know a thing in itself and that’s the way you can’t know all the possibilities of life. There’s just too many beyond our imagination, like is said in Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” In the unexpected things falling out of the sky, are often the to challenge us in our tiny little lives we’ve securely sought out for ourselves.
It seems like from the point of view of a disabled woman, I’ve lived my life beating the odds in one form or another and sometime depending on miracles. I’ve since learned that trying to plan ahead for all possible things that can go wrong, as a roommate once suggested me to do, is impossible because how can you foresee a toilet falling off of a wall when you just got off of it. Even the most unexpected things will happen. Sometimes in our favor and sometimes not, and there’s always that moment of stupidity where it seems that the sky is literally falling and there’s no logical explanation for anything. At that point you can either believe in luck or something else. Either way, you cannot escape reality.