We had big plans. The Fleur Cinema in Des Moines is about as big as plans can get on a hot Thursday night in central Iowa. Wes Anderson's new film Moonrise Kingdom would have been a treat in any theatre, but The Fleur kicks up the classy and adds the right amount of hip.
But, we never made it there. Eddie (my 2002 Honda Civic) had other plans that involved us not being stranded on Interstate 35. On the way out of town, in the middle of our build-up-this-weeknight-like-it's-the-weekend excitement, Eddie became averse to third gear. No matter how hard I punched my foot to the floorboard, he wouldn't budge past 27 mph.
I instantly imagine two things: this Thursday will not be spent at the Fleur and an Ames mechanic will quickly become my new best friend.
As you know by now, these things don't surprise me, but I felt terrible for my friends who may not experience series' of unfortunate events on a regular basis. They were like a pair of peaches, though, as we coaxed little Eddie along the backroads, up a gentle slope and over to the dead end on Oak Street where I counted at least four repair shops within two blocks.
I was breathing thanks to God for all the little things - all those almost disasters that we avoided.
We walked in the direction of our houses and then parted ways on 9th street, where I promptly called my brother who began diagnosing my car by the sounds I described (like a regular episode on Car Talk). He had it pegged as electrical or alternator-related in about 10 minutes, right as I saw my two girl friends pull up alongside me. They waved me into their car for some car trouble therapy and we filled the night with laughter.
Oh, how I love this strange series of events. Life doesn't skip a beat. I just jump out of one current and into another. I might flail a bit at the change of course, but nothing is ever as disagreeable as it could have been, if things had worked out differently.