Friday, March 4, 2011

luck is the residue of design

I will just go ahead and say, without self-pity and without pride, that I have always thought I had weird luck. It's not always bad - Weird Bad Luck happens to my best friend Stacey - but I definitely have weird luck. It's luck that clumps together so it comes all at once and people shake their heads at my life and say, "What are the chances?" But having had weird luck for most of my life - I know exactly what the chances are. The chances are freakin' HIGH.

By the way - if you're wondering how exactly I define Weird Bad Luck I'll give you my favorite story of Stacey's. Being raised a Good Catholic girl, Stacey decided she was going to wait until marriage to have sex, and to avoid temptation, would never spend the night over at her boyfriend's (now her husband's) dorm-room during college. Except for that one rainy night, after they both got back late from a concert, when Stacey thought, What the hell, I'll just sleep here one night, and won't tell my mother, and then found herself confronted by her Even More Catholic mother a few weeks later. Are you having pre-marital sex?! Stacey's Even More Catholic mother screamed, and Stacey had no CLUE as to how her mother could have found out that she spent the (sexless) night over at her boyfriend's dorm.

Turns out, there was a drug bust in the parking lot of campus that night, and the police took photos of all the cars and then mailed them back to the registered owners to make sure the vehicles weren't stolen. Stacey's Even More Catholic mother got photographic proof from the police that her only daughter spent the night at a college campus. With a boy.

And that, my friends, is Stacey's Weird Bad Luck.

Two weeks ago, I decided I was going to take a majorly fat step towards my own happiness by paying off my car with my savings, thus allowing me more room in my budget to take every other Friday off of one of my two part time jobs. I drive over two hours a day, five days a week, and it was running my car (and my soul) into the ground. So I decided: pay off my car, pay myself with the money I save each month, work less, have the same amount of money, and be more happy. Sounds simple right?

The day I mailed in the check to pay off my car, my car died in the middle of the intersection I was driving through, literally on my way to my tire mechanic's because my front brake sensor was going off. I had just enough in my checking account to make room for paying for brake pads, and enough in savings to pay off the car.

What I didn't have money for was the distributor in my engine, which was what quit on my car the day I paid it off. Which was about $350. That I did not have. And after I finished paying the $350 to my regular mechanic, I drove straight to my tire mechanic's, where they happily replaced my front brake pads. For another $200. I will be honest here, guys - I cried. Like a girl. My money was gone, my car was working - for now - and I had very little hope that I would recoup my money losses.

Except that Thursday, three days after having one of the most expensive days of my life and a month after I'd asked my boss at one of my part-time jobs for a raise, when I'd just about lost all hope - my boss came back and told me he'd agreed to give me a raise. A $5/hour raise. He explained the reasons why, something about me being a great employee who works hard, but honestly, I didn't hear a single word because I was CRYING OUT OF JOY INSIDE MY BRAIN.

Then, on Friday, at my other part-time job, I told my boss how happy I was that I had received a raise at my other job after waiting to hear back for more than a month - and as I left that day and my other boss paid me, she included a note with my payment - that said she was also giving me a raise. I cried out of gratitude the entire hour long drive home.

And lately I've been thinking - all my life, I have taken responsibility for the bad things that have happened in my life, but I've chalked up the good things to luck. What if I got it wrong? What if it's been the other way around my whole life? What if there was nothing I could have done to keep my distributor from dying (which my mechanic confirmed), but the fact that I got two raises in two days IS something I made happen? I work hard, I'm loyal, and I'm damn smart. I've put in the work that caused me to deserve the good things that have happened in my life. And what if it's good luck that my car died while I was on a surface street, as opposed to going 70 mph in the fast lane on a California Highway?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that part of why I'm so happy, why I'm so deeply, incredibly grateful for my life these days - is that it's full of good luck, great people, and wonderful opportunities. And I'm beginning to think that almost all of that is my fault. It's a result of how hard I work to create my own luck, to maintain friendships and relationships with great people, and track down and explore new opportunities.

And every once in a while, when things get weird, I can just shake my head, laugh, and know that it's gonna pass.

(photo credit: I got it here)

33 comments:

Snowbrush said...

I'm so happy for your good news!

Two Tigers said...

My dear, you have given me the gift of new perspective! I have the same luck you describe, but it never occurred to me to take credit for the good weird, only blame for the bad weird. And yes, much of the bad weird could have been Much Much Worse, and so, was only good luck in one of its more mischievous incarnations. I'm glad things are working out for you, all things considered, in such a way that you can express gratitude and happiness so sincerely and robustly I can feel it leaping right off the screen. I'm right there with you on that score. This was a wonderful post! Have a great weekend!

Lira said...

Yay!!!!!

Joker_SATX said...

I love these blog posts!

Now you have me thinking.......

Wine and Words said...

I love that you're taking credit! You are an amazing woman, funny as hell (and it don't hurt to be that cute) and deserving of all that wonderful wierdness!

Jo Schaffer said...

(= Positive thinking brings positive results--sounds like you're using The Secret. (=

Robin said...

What a great post. I love it when a switch flips in our brain. Ah, perhaps the good things are earned and the bad things (at least some of the them) are inevitable, like car part failure. Hmmmm. How about that for a revelation? You are awesome. That is something amazing to ponder!

CailinMarie said...

blog hopping and this is a great post to have stumbled upon. I am giggling over poor "Stacey that I don't know's" luck- really? that happened? And delighted over your good luck. Yay! Stay open, more good will find you.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yeah, you turned the bad luck good by hard work and the right attitude. I've had the bad car luck lately, too--two hit-and-runs when my car was parked that ended up costing me $600 to repair. Grrr. But, hey, my car's still running, and I'm still here to read fantastic posts like this one!

Jo said...

That good luck...totally your fault! :)

Anthony Duce said...

I think you got it right here. I’m happy for you. I was told it takes a lot of work to be lucky… sometimes I wish I’d remember this, when I’m feeling down.

jenn said...

You know - I wouldn't call that weird luck - I would call that "karma." Plain and simple. You're a good person with an even better soul. That kind of stuff catches up to you...even if it takes awhile.

Congrats on your raises!

JJ said...

As I have written so many times, there is no such thing as luck, in my opinion. I remember the words of a famous golf pro, who in answer to an obnoxious reporter's badgering responded, "You're right. I am lucky, and if you practice as much as I do, you can be lucky too." I never forgot that lesson.

g. fox said...

you go girl. you've got the luck AND the gratitude, and that is a royal combination indeed.
love,
g*

Terresa said...

"Stacey's Weird Bad Luck" -- sounds like the perfect title of a YA novel!

Stick with the positive vibes, girl. And keep looking for 4 leaf clovers (they exist, I've found several!).

Scarlet-O said...

Oh, oh god, well-written and funny and white-knuckled post!!!! Oh, cars, oh I know. Every "WHY ME???" moment I've ever had in this town (which I've come to love beyond belief btw) has been to do with the damn car... And I KNOWWWWW if you're making that east-west (or west-east for that matter) commute on the daily you are a STRONG and WONDERFUL creature...

Yes, for heaven's sake, take credit for the good!!! I know what you mean and I've sort of felt that way too... not anymore, not anymore... everything is karma, good and bad, and the bad isn't like "because you're bad", it's just to teach you to be better...

You should be happy and you should feel grateful but everyone around you is grateful for you too, I know that.

Love
S-O

drollgirl said...

whee! you have worked hard for this, and you deserve 2 raises! it is RAD, and it could not have come at a better time! WHEE!

Gwen said...

Okay. First of all I'm terrified to pay my car off. Have been for several months. The last payment is due in a few months but it hasn't stopped me from stressing over every little noise or movement the car makes.

Second I'm going to have agree that you definitely determine the good in your life. I'm so happy you got your two raises!!! It's amazing how a little "good luck" can change things all around!!!

XOXO

Lydia K said...

In the words of Edna Mode (from the Incredibles)

"Luck favors the prepared, my dear."

And in your case, you "prepared" by working hard and doing well at your jobs, which then "gave" you those lucky raises!

Barbara said...

In that most bosses are NOT giving raises to anyone right now (even to super employees like you) I find this extraordinarily good luck!! Not just good weird. But Amazing! Three cheers for you. (And it really isn't luck...it's hard work on your part.)

I am more like Stacey. Weird bad luck most of the time.

Maggie May said...

I am SOOOO happy for you@!@@@

Okie said...

lol...what a pile of great stories. And congratulations on the raise(s).

I've always been a firm believer in luck as well as a believer that (sometimes) we can make our own luck. Though much of the time, the world is just crazy and it's wild to see the way things work out.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

Love this story- Mazel tov on TWO raises in TWO days- that is great news and I think we do make things happen and I think that you also made the car die in such a way as to not have been in danger- as you mentioned on the highway-
Have a great one lady lady.

Darcy said...

oh my gosh that's a GREAT story! it is amazing and i'm pretty sure stuff like that only happens to the good ones :-)

Des said...

I'm happy for you. You deserve to have good things happen to you because you take the time to nurture friendships and relationships with great people.

Lori ann said...

good luck is good karma. and i think the belief that they both belong to you.
i hope all is well with you beautiful girl.

Nick Thomas said...

Okay, so now that you're wealthy.. I need $1,000 to study salinity levels in the Caribbean.

Dionne said...

That definitely sounds like more than good luck to me, Tracy - that sounds like your God's favorite! Dang! That's awesome. I think you need to come to Texas and let me rub your head or something.

Tammigirl said...

Speaking as one of the luckiest people you'll ever know I can confirm. You do create, in part, your own luck. It takes a bit of cooperation from the universe, which is bound to come if only you create enough opportunities.

I win a lot of stuff from sweepstakes and giveaways, so ask anyone who knows me - I'm lucky. Just another thing we have in common!

Nick Thomas said...

You make driving in Calif sound so relaxing - thank goodness for satellite radio.

And I look forward to seeing you on the whale watching tour tomorrow :)

kj said...

ah, your ending is exquisite. what a roller coaster transition you took me on: i was worried until your sweet boy smiled at you.

in my humble experience, being loved like that makes just about everything else pretty okay. :)

love
kj

Eric W. Trant said...

I have my own series of weird-luck moments, so I get you, completely. Somehow, during college, I always made rent. No idea how, but I always made it.

The same happens today. I don't know if it's a karma cause-and-effect action, but good is often balanced out by bad, and vice versa.

And it's always good to look on the bright side. My Tahoe has broken down several times over the eight years I've owned it, but always in my driveway. That includes the alternator and the fuel pump and one flat tire. How's that for weird luck!

- Eric

tom said...

I'm 79 years old, while I'm healthy I'm pretty disgusted about my own situation. However, your story about the raises made me feel good. Thanks! ;>)

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