Kage Baker had very firm ideas about how trouble should be apportioned out in any one person’s life She didn’t expect to glide scatheless through the woes of everyday life – she was just quite sure that a certain balance was to be expected of any well-behaved Fate.
If you get hit with a big problem, she always insisted, the small stuff should leave you alone.
She was adamant about this, despite the recurring proof that Fate was not well-mannered, and that a myriad of petty troubles rode whooping and howling in the train of any large one. Sometimes it meant she could be devastated by a little screw-up that appeared when she was emotionally unprepared – but more often, it gave her the ability to rise above the small stuff in the righteous conviction that it wasn’t supposed to happen and thus was essentially unimportant.
So I guess that was at least a partial win. Kage had a whim of iron, and it worked for her.
Personally, I expect trouble of all sorts and sizes to be pretty much perennial. I wish it weren’t so, of course – and I get still be surprised at just how petty, constant and freaking annoying the little stuff can persist in being. You’d think I’d learn, you know?
Headaches, hangnails, cats that throw up in the dark in front of the bathroom door, dead batteries in your flashlight, INK OUT warnings from your printer: the Post Office cannot compete with the steadfastness fidelity of small, horrible, exasperating calamities. Not even when you’re waiting to have a major organ removed.
No sooner did my kidney finally get its marching orders, than it decided to explore the broad spectrum of infections available to it. Maybe internal organs get special catalogs, or wi-fi, or something. All I know for sure is that – having managed to avoid minor plumbing problems for decades; rare luck for an aging lady – I have spent the last 3 weeks battling damned near constant genito-urinary tract inflammations. You could probably clean up the entirety of Gruniard Island (which was quarantined for 48 years after anthrax experiments by the UK War Department) with the amount of Cipro I’ve taken this month: which gifted me with cramps, diarrhea, and dissolving finger prints.
On the other hand, I’ve lost a lot of weight. On the other other hand, nearly everything I eat makes me ill. On the other other other hand, I’ve discovered Norco, which is a painkiller that essentially reboots your entire nervous system. But I’m needing more hands all the time.
My car has been safely parked in the driveway for 3 weeks; it’s been difficult for me to drive, no one else in the household can drive my manual transmission Cruiser, and it can’t be left on the street or it’ll impede the street cleaners. (The street cleaners only come out when I am parked on the street, but it’s a guarantee they will if I am.) So, inevitably, over the weekend, my car abruptly began shrieking and blinking and honking hysterically. Something had set off the alarm system. Probably raccoons.
It’s never, ever happened before – and now, when I can barely bend over to try and find the kill switch, it goes amok. I couldn’t find the kill switch, I don’t have a remote, and even disconnecting the battery did not reset it – I had to pull the fuse to shut it up. And even then, the car went into security catatonia and would not start. So I called AAA today. But the AAA alarm system tech couldn’t turn the alarm off OR the engine back on, so he decided it was dead and sent me a tow truck. Aaaargh!
But then! My normal faith in the universe finally paid off! The tow truck guy had schematics for a PT Cruiser on his Smart Phone, mirabile dictu, and located the cunningly hidden and invisible kill and reset switch. So now, if my car starts beeping again when trucks rumble down the street, I can at least hobble out and silence it.
I still wish the small stuff would stop. But one triumph makes up for a lot of disasters, especially of the honking-howling-beeping -blinking varieties. Maybe Kage was right, and the minor shit doesn’t matter because it just shouldn’t happen anyway. It isn’t really real unless I let it be, right? Right.
Time to reboot my nervous system again. I shall survive!
Oh dear, Kathleen, that’s quite a parade of petty problems indeed. Wish I could build a barrier, or at least a colorful moat, around your wee patch of heaven, so the silly annoyances might be slowed down a bit, and give you some peace. Actually, the moat idea could be really good. Maybe The Petty Problems would take up Synchonized Swimming, and be an entertainment for now.
Forgive me if I, myself, am being incoherent. I’m still on the first cuppa of the day, and my bleary eyes have not focused yet. I have to admit that when I saw your phrase above (“Kage had a whim of iron …”) my dyslexic brain saw it as “Kage had an Icon of Whim …”
You know … I rather like that. May I keep this new Icon? I think I need more Whim in my life these days.
Again, best wishes in your countdown to surgery, and I hope, for a more comfortable thereafter.
I LOV the Icon of Whim! Yes, keep it for all of us. Thanks for the good wishes – I shall prevail!
And on the Other Other Other hand, the raccoons will avoid your yard for a few days. That should make the dog happy.
More best wishes piled on all the others to you – perhaps the wishes will climb so high that new problems won’t be able to reach you.
Thank you, Lynn. Small problems never really quit – except for weekends spent at Faire! – but when I’m not so tired and sore, they’re lot easier to deal with. All will be well.
Could the raccoons have nibbled on the wires under your car’s bonnet, causing the alarm to go off? Mice once made a wee little nest on some wires inside my husband’s car. It was adorable, like a party favor — very cunningly crafted of shredded magazine pages and bits of plastic bags, but it was filled with baby mice, which wasn’t so adorable.
I don’t think anything actually chewed on the wires – I suspect the raccoons actually stood up and tried the handles with with their evil black-gloved paws. Kage and I were once siting round a campfire one night, and watched in disbelief as a raccoon got its fingers into the crack of our almost-closed van side door, and DRAGGED IT OPEN!! So I know they are fiendishly clever. No mice nesting, either – though I had a Pinto once that developed mold in its spark plug hoods …
Your writing invariably makes me laugh out loud, Kate! All of us experience those annoying moments piling onto more serious moments. But a good laugh is hard to find! I read this right after reading that Mildred Holland has joined Skyfaire. I was fixing to be downcast all night, and you make me guffaw inspite of myself. Thanks for your gift and for sharing it while trying to stay sane and kick UTI’s!