People often ask me what happened to the front of my car.
It used to be pretty, but for the past few months, the front near the license plate has been well-crunched.
So I say, “I was dodging a house.” Then they laugh and say, “It jumped right out in front of you, huh?” And I say, “Well…”
You see, the other day I had to drive to a ranch in South Texas for a wedding. I woke up late, got a speeding ticket and went the wrong way for a bit, until my car got crunched and it was an altogether unfortunate trip. I did make it on time, but just barely.
Now, I’m not a believer in karma. I dislike the whole idea because few people seem to get what’s coming to them, especially those jerks that really deserve it. Meanwhile 9-year-old girls get picked up by Dwayne Billings and attend Arizona political events crashed by Jared Loughner.
At least here and now, there is no justice, and for that we’re mostly, but not altogether, to be thankful. The rain falls on the just and unjust alike, like towers in Siloam. Hurricanes don’t hit cities with vengeance, they just sort of happen and people get caught in them.
Our brains are made to function on observable cause and effect, though, so chaos and abstract causes are problematic. We especially want to know why something bad happened when it happened to us.
As a way to explain the large effects of small causes, it’s sometimes said that butterflies flapping in Brazil cause tornadoes in Texas. When they migrate through West Texas, I guess we give them storms right back.
But if karma exists, I wonder what all those butterflies did to deserve the misfortune of passing in front of my fast-moving car on my way to the wedding. If they are travelling south to mate and such, maybe they’re being punished preemptively for their fluttery orgy.
In any case, a good 10,000 or more met their end on my windshield and grill. I guess they distracted me because I made a few wrong turns until I found myself in the hilly area around Iraan on a two-lane highway.
Eventually a pickup with an antenna in the bed and a banner on the front reading “WIDE LOAD” came down a hill along the center stripe.
I moved aside, then back to my lane, trying to figure out why the pickup couldn’t fit in its own lane. How dangerous to go right down the middle.
Then I got to the top of the hill and right in front of me was a house being moved by truck, coming toward me almost as quickly as I toward it.
I muttered some sort of expletive, slammed on my brakes, and realized there wasn’t enough space to slow down, so I went off the shoulder, slid on some dirt and finally stopped rather suddenly with the help of a well-placed guardrail.
I was all right; except for aesthetics, so was my car.
So I got out to take a look, and scratch my head and wonder what in the world I could have done to deserve this.