Thursday, March 30, 2006

Snake eyes


Snake eyes (slang) "Because this is the lowest possible roll, and will often be a loser in many dice games, the term has been employed in a more general usage as a reference to bad luck."
--Wikipedia
I'm not sure I really believe in good or bad luck. But I do believe in the routines or rituals of everyday life we create just on the off chance that luck exists. I admit it. I am a creature of habit and I get a little sideways when my routines are disrupted. Today is one of those days.

Every morning, Tess' alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m. She gets up and gets in the shower. At 5:50 a.m. I get up, turn on the television to listen to the news and stumble to the shower to change places with Tess. I shower while she gets ready for work. When I get out of the shower to get ready, she is heading downstairs to make coffee. It is our ritual.

For some reason this week, Tess has been edging her wake up time a few minutes later. Yesterday she was almost 10 minutes later than normal and everything in the routine was shifted. I felt out of sorts most of the day (which would explain the Melancholy Dane post).

So this morning I popped awake at 5:40 a.m. and went and showered first. Tess came stumbling in at 5;50 a.m. disoriented completely by the change in routine. We spent the entire morning tripping over each other, trying to get ready.

Everything began to ripple out from there. I drove to the train station in a daze and other people were in the spot where I wait for the train. The train even stopped slightly ahead of the spot it normally stops. Sitting on the train, I became even more aggitated when I saw people acting differently than they normally do. On an average day, I watch the same security guard walk through the train car at the same time and stop to open up the restroom door and check it for some reason (apparently train terrorists enter through the lavatory). Today a different security guard walked through at a different time and didn't check the restroom. I began twitching.

The entire commute was that way. The train slowed down at the wrong places, it made odd screeching sounds I'd never heard before and the scenery didn't seem right. Plus the sun is shining in Seattle. What is that all about?

I firmly believe that by showering before my wife this morning I created a tear in the time space continuum and have launched myself into a parallel, bizarro universe.

By now, you have probably begun to wonder if this boy is eating with only one chopstick (I made that one up myself...pretty neat, huh?). But I'm only trying to illustrate that it is our routines that ground us. Changing up things makes us perceive things differently and can be disorienting. I believe this is why sports figures often have rituals they follow religiously before and during every game (and I'm excluding steroids here).

I think this starts in childhood (the rituals, not steroids). Tess is a grade school teacher and trust me, she is a firm believer in structure. Nothing causes chaos in a classroom like a change in routine. And I can remember having lots of little routines as a child that I was convinced made good or bad things happen (like stepping on cracks or not walking on your shadow).

But I'm also convinced that sometimes you have to break out of that rut (which is why I showered first this morning but probably won't ever again). I think the different perceptions you get by mixing things up a bit is also what stimulates creative thinking.

Which leads me to a minor digression:

I read a comment the other day someone had written on another blog in reference to my entries about Thornewood Castle. They declared they had been there and never seen a ghost. They followed that with a statement that essentially said, "There are some pretty scary blogs out there." SCARY? Me? Scary, as in 'he should work for the post office' scary?

Now personally, I find blogs with cute little Hallmark quotes and photos of kittens (not attacking things) as scary. So this could be the gist of the problem. At least I'm publishing original material and not just publishing crap somebody sent me in an e-mail or a diary documenting the challenges of learning how to play the banjo.

So cut me some slack. SCARY? Okay, maybe a little, but in a cute, offbeat kind of way, don't you think? End of digression. That's just been bugging me.

Bottomline is, I think it is okay to wander off the path now and then, but after stumbling through the bushes, it is always comfortable to find a paved road again.

It's just a thought. A scary one to some, but just a thought, nevertheless.
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