I’m not superstitious. And, anyway, the good karma of Saturday the 14th being Valentine’s Day invalidates any bad luck Friday the 13th might provide. For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction, right? That’s how it works in the Book of Mars Girl. If you’re a postal worker or someone with a government job, this may be a long weekend for you as it is also President’s Day on Monday. I, unfortunately, do not have one of these jobs. We get a very spare few holidays–Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The rest is ours to claim as we please.
I’m making a long weekend out of the 27th by taking Friday off and escaping to Holiday Valley for the weekend with a few friends from my professional organization–two couples about my age who appear to be DINKs (Double Income No Kids). We’re renting a condo right by the slopes and we got a great lift ticket deal for doing so: $99 for a ticket valid from 3pm Friday until 4:30pm Sunday. Can’t beat that! I am half tempted to go up Thursday night, stay in Jamestown, and then sneak over to Holimont for the day. I don’t know if I am going to do that, though, because I might be too tired to then ski Friday night at Holiday Valley and make use of my ticket. I’m very excited! Michael might even come up to ski Saturday.
My day was tainted this morning when the first story I saw on my Road Runner home page was a fiery plane crashed into a house–the news of a Continental commuter flight going down in the suburbs Buffalo. One of the passengers on the plane was a 9-11 widow, which kind of raised the hairs on my arms. I have never been mistaken that because you lived through one tragedy you are impervious to all others. In panicky moments where I worry that I might have cancer or MS or heart problems I don’t know about (like my husband) or some other disease, I am often oddly calmed by thinking how wildly fitting it would be if I also died young. Morbid, I know, but I just think that if a doctor told me I was dying, that I only had a few months left to live or that I’d come down with some illness, I’d take the news unblinkingly nonplussed. It feels like these things just can’t surprise me anymore. Something in my head snapped several years back; it’s like I expect to die more than I expect to live.
Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t want to die. On the contrary, I am filled with a furious passion to live every moment of my life to the fullest, even those dull moments pounding away at a job for which I feel little passion. I’m certainly not wishing death on myself and I never would. My husband’s death made me hang onto life more vigorously as I realized how fleeting it was. I’m just saying that I think I would feel a total lack of surprise when faced with dire news on my health. In a car crash or some other fatal accident, I think my last thought would be, “Well, that figures.”
Sometimes disease and death seems so close at hand that I feel as though I’m lucky to have avoided such for myself. Like life is a mine field and I’m ambling aimlessly across it. It seems harder to me to stay alive than it does to end up dead. I still wake up in the morning sometimes with a sense of relief that I made it through the last 24 hours. I try not to think like this, though. It’s pretty depressing and it’s better to focus on the positive. I’m not dying right now, so I should plan accordingly. I can’t see where the next land mine is, so I just have to hope I’m navigating myself to safe ground.
Maybe I’ve become a little obsessed with death. Gack. Save me now, Dr. Joy Browne. This new found empathy for victims of tragic circumstance weighs heavy on my soul.
Anyway, I will keep close in my thoughts the families of the people who lost someone on that flight as well as the one person who died in the hit house (which I suspect is the father and husband to the surviving mother and child). If I make it to church this week, maybe I will say something in our prayer segment; if not, I’ll be thinking it. Not that I think it does much good. But maybe the positive energy spent while thinking kind thoughts gets reused elsewhere in a position that allows something to occur to comfort those in grief (all energy in the universe is reused, after all). Sometimes it’s just nice to know that other people understand your pain across the distance, though they don’t know you, and they are sad for you too.
Funny how things go in cycles. One plane is saved from disaster by a water landing in the Hudson, another goes down in flames and plows a house in a Buffalo suburb. The reports say there was an element of luck in this incident, even though it sure doesn’t seem that way: the plane only hit one house when it could have devastated an entire neighborhood. This is the surrealistic stuff of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.
Other than that depressing stuff, I’ve been distracted lately by my new iPod. I got the car attachment thingy yesterday and I was delighted to listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac on the way to work this morning as well as some tunes. The only thing that’s a little weird is trying to find a good station to broadcast the iPod off of. The equipment piece scans for the best three stations and you have to pick one and see if it works okay for you. Which is problematic when the car’s actually moving because channels can fade, which leaves a static noise in the background of your music, so then you have to switch channels again. It’s also a little hard to do all this while you’re driving. However, since my car radio doesn’t have an axillary port, this is the best setup I get. And, hey, it’s better than nothing. If you find the right station, you get pretty clear sound.
Now if I can go into a media blackout, I can live always in a world of poetry, good music, Garrison Keillor, and good natured stories about Lake Wobegon without getting bored while traveling. Is there a web page I can default my email to where only happy news fills the screen? At this time of the year, I just can’t handle the blues.