Wednesday, April 01, 2009
A Thousand Papercuts
Nothing was going right. What could be dropped fell from my hands, what could be forgotten flew out of my mind, what thoughtless word could be spoken was spoken. And just to top it all, the sky was brooding and threatening. My attempts to offer up life's little crosses brought me no consolation, only a painful reminder of my frailties and failures.
It was Friday last week, usually my longest day at work. But it was teacher workday, so only half-day teaching. I looked forward to going home early. The series of mishaps happening at every turn it seemed had me close to tears. I'm usually not emotional, but something was preventing me from leaving work early.
The pagemaker program locked up and the automatic backup wasn't working. After almost an hour of trying to troubleshoot, I gave up and decided to start the document all over again. I was disgusted at my stubbornness leading to wasted time.
The copier machine decided that every document I had to run off should be ornamented by toner streaks. Didn't we just have this blasted thing serviced recently, I asked our parish secretary. Oh, yes, it's just you it doesn't like, she teased.
I could not reach my late-afternoon appointment to postpone our meeting since his phone number was private and I was not privileged to have it. The previous days' emails remained unanswered and so I was scrambling to think of a way to reach this remote person. Thankfully, a friend whose thinking was clearer than mine gave me an inspiration. After what seemed like an interminable time, I was finally able to reschedule the appointment.
By then, it was mid-afternoon, my hands were trembling from lack of food. I had not eaten all day. The phone rang with my husband on the other end. He listened to my rant patiently and then urged me to get something to eat. Out I went to the nearest sushi bar and it was raining. The rain did not fall softly. The sky dropped big, heavy, plodding mini-bombs. Soon the wind was whipping everything around. Of course, I had no umbrella. Just my luck. And it wasn't even Friday the 13th.
By the time I decided to leave work for home, it was time for rush-hour traffic. Oh, joy, to be on the freeway with all the working stiffs just like me, tired and cantankerous. Sure enough, traffic was snail's pace in the driving rain. The wind was brutally stirring up the rain, the wipers barely keeping up.
Slowly, traffic crept forward and soon it was evident that there had been a massive wreck ahead. I crested a hill and saw that both directions on the freeway were slowed to a crawl. Flashing lights of emergency vehicles pierced through the blinding rain. Thankfully, though at a creeping pace, traffic was moving and soon I saw the burned wreckage of a semi-truck on its side having missed going over the bridge...jaws of life had been used to pry the occupant from the cab. At my approach, an ambulance pulled away with its loud sirens and flashing lights. I sent a prayer up to heaven for the poor soul.
Then a thought occurred to me that all those thousand papercuts keeping me at work had kept me safe from the road. This was the second time in the week that little annoyances had caused me to be late only to come upon a wreck on the highway. I don't believe in coincidences. As I exited the freeway to the road leading closer to home, I thanked my Guardian Angel.