How you can tell the universe is conspiring against you

A few weeks ago, I had a meeting in Chicago. Well, I would have had the meeting, had I not had a really bad kidney stone attack that week. Won’t get into that, other than to note that it hurt badly, and I wound up in a hospital and ER for ~3.5 days.

Released that thursday, I had been scheduled to drive to Chicago that night. Given how saturated I was with pain meds, I didn’t think this was the wisest of ideas.

So I rescheduled.

The car (our Jeep Grand Cherokee) I was to drive had an … erm … elastic collision with an earth moving machine the next week, and needed body work. Fine. Did that. Got the car back a week ago Friday.

I noticed that it was sluggish after we got it back; it seems that the folks doing the work had done something to the transmission, and possibly the electrical system. They denied it, but they saw the problem I indicated. Their response “its got 160k miles on it.” Mine “but it wasn’t doing that when I brought it in.” Suffice it to say that we aren’t going back there.

Car struggled to turn over, battery looked ok, but it was having problems.

Fine. Not going to leave this car with the family, they get the newer one. I am taking this one for the new meeting in Chicago.

Then my laptop dies. Screen stops working within seconds of the laptop powering on. Thanks to a post response here, I learned of the people pc place, and sent it off for them to work on it. Hopefully it is fixable, but I need a new one anyway. I just want to hold off a little and make a more careful decision with more information (likely another Dell, or possibly an HP).

So I grab the office spare laptop, and load/configure it. Works, but a little slow (and old). But it works.

Had a nearly flat tire, put air in it (have one of those portable air pumps that connects to the lighter socket … really like it, it has a built in pressure gauge).

Drive out to Chicago on Thursday. While driving, I started getting a pretty evil smelling emission from the car. Happened after passing through Gary, Indiana, so it was hard to disambiguate … If you’ve never driven I94 through Gary, you wouldn’t understand. If you are from Gary, my apologies, but that route stinks, in an olfactory sense.

I thought I needed to air out the car. So I rolled some of the windows down after passing through. It fixed some aspect of the problem.

Got to the hotel, stayed in.

Next morning, I checked out. Meeting at 9am in Chicago, and I am in Skokie (just north of Chicago); I get into the car at 7:45am. I noticed when I clicked the key fob that I didn’t hear it unlock, but thats ok. It was.

Put the stuff into the car, turn it on and … nothing.

Hmmm….

First sanity check. Turn on the lights and see if they are on. Sure enough, they aren’t.

Get a jump start from the hotel (Hampton Inn in Skokie, they simply rock! highly recommend them for everything) , they gave me directions to “Just Tires” and told me, don’t worry, they do more than tires. Got there, and found out that they really do, just tires. They pointed me to a small shop about a mile away on Dempster. In Morton Grove, IL.

Ok, at this point, with a blown battery, I am thinking the universe is trying to stop this meeting. All that went on before got me thinking this. The kidney stones, the laptop, the car transmission, the sluggish turn over, the flat tire …

But then, as if it were a sign from on high, I somehow knew this day was going to work out. On the way to the small shop, I passed a Starbucks. There would be coffee. Life could go on.

New battery (only took them 5 minutes, they put me in front of their other customers … I’ll point them out when I grab my receipt later … definitely good folk), they sent me on my way. Being a “show me” type, I turned off, and then on, the car, to make sure I wouldn’t have a problem. Started up like a champ.

Ran over to Starbucks. Got the coffee. Despite everything, all would be well. Started down (about 1 hour late) to my meeting. Which went quite well. Lots of us ex-physics types about 🙂

Times like this, one has to wonder if there are imponderable forces at work attempting to interfere with you. That the universe doesn’t want you to have this meeting.

The trip home was un-eventful.

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