If you don’t have time to invest in reading this, come back later. I’ll warn you now, it’s a long read.
If you believe there are infinite universes, one of them is exactly like Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe. This means somewhere, Shepherd Book said “I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in something.” It’s also written on the back of my iPod Touch in this universe. It’s simple, to the point and i full agree with it. Each of us believes something a little different. There’s nuance to faith. Sometimes that includes having no faith and choosing to be very literal about the world around us and our place in it. Whatever your understanding of our place in this world is, pick a lane and follow a few simple rules.
I choose to believe there’s a purpose behind all of this and I choose to play my part in it. A random event is just that. Random. Multiple events that have a common thread could be random but I find that highly unlikely. Let me take you back to Saturday in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Marie (@dylissia) and I had a bit of cash left over from our shore excursion we took while on our cruise. This money was spoken for. We were going to spend it on trinkety crap or some novelty item on our tours to bring home to the kids. Maybe we were going to spend it all on post cards for our crazy family and friends. Maybe we’d find a massage parlor in Puerto Vallarta. Who knows? The point is that we anticipated this money having been spent. For whatever reason, it was still in our pocket after our last day in port. It was burning a hole there.
Saturday morning, we decided to blow $60 of what we had left in the casino on the ship. I’d take $40 to the roulette table with our coupons that gave me an extra $5 dollars on any $5 or more bet if I were to win. Marie decided that the slot machines were a good place to make her $20 donation.
I sat down with $40 and worked my way up to $60 after a few carefully placed (read: entirely random) bets. I was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to be a bit more adventurous with my winnings. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Next thing I know, I’m down to $26 from my original $40. Apparently my skill at random guessing games wasn’t crisp anymore.
I took a stab at making my money back and put $13 on black. Next thing I know, I doubled my $13 and made it back to $39. I sat out a few spins to study the table and take the opportunity to calculate how the numbers were coming up. This board seemed to have a pattern. Thirteen came up three times in nine spins. Three!! After careful consideration and calculation, I placed another $13 on black. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, I was up to $52. I was on a roll. I’d doubled my money in two bets. I was high. I was going to beat the house and earn back all the money we’d spent on the cruise. So, I cashed out and left the table lady a $2 tip.
After piling all of our remaining cash together, we doled out tips to the ship staff that helped us throughout the week and Marie put the remaining $43 in my wallet. We were leaving the ship and needed some cash for the porters at the dock and the cabbie for the ride back to the airport.
Our ship departure was a bit odd compared to what we’re used to. The port at San Pedro had an issue with Customs which caused a delay in getting off the ship. This led to the port terminal and luggage area being nearly completely empty by the time we made our way off the ship. We didn’t need a porter. No tip required. The money remained in my wallet.
We intended on splitting cab fare to the airport with Scott and Marc but it was easier to put the cab fare on a credit card. Again, no cash tip was required. The money remained in my wallet.
This post is already long so I’ll spare you the complaints about lunch at the airport. Suffice it to say, we spent nearly 80 minutes getting food at On The Border in LAX. Chips, Salsa, Queso, a pair of Diet Cokes, a burrito and an enchilada. Most of the time, we can’t catch a breath when they’re bringing our drinks, appetizer and meal. Their goal is to shuttle people in and out. Not Sunday at LAX. We waited. Seemingly, we waited forever.
At one point, Marie asked if i just wanted to drop the $40 in the jacket and leave. The bill was $39.80 something and I didn’t feel like leaving a tip because of the service. We waited a while longer for old man waiter to retrieve my credit card and return with the slip. Again, the $40 remained in my wallet.
This money should have been gone. This money was spent at least five times over. On shore. In the casino. At the pier. In the cab. At the airport. For whatever reason, I found a reason to pass on buying more souvenirs, tip a porter or cabbie, walk away from the table or find a different way to pay.
Fast forward five hours. We’re nearly home. We’re standing at O’Hare with our bags. We’ve called our car service to come pick us up at the baggage claim area. While waiting for our car, a woman walked by and asked if we were going to Rockford, IL. We weren’t. It is a few hours in the wrong direction. I watched as she walked down the length of the baggage claim area asking people as she went.
I asked Marie to ask her if she’d considered the bus to Rockford while I waited with the bags for our car. It seems she tried but her card was declined. So I sent Marie back again to find out how much the bus service to Rockford was. $22. So, we wandered over to find her a third time and since it was sitting in my wallet, I handed her $22, told her to get home and be safe. She thanked us for the money, cried a bit and then walked back to the bus terminal. Marie and I turned around to see our car service pulling up.
I have no idea if she made the bus. I hope so. If she just wanted money, she’d have asked for five bucks. She asked for a ride. I have faith that she needed a way home, not a collection of cash. She needed a way home. We didn’t exchange information or provide any way of following up with each other. I didn’t quite care to do that. I wasn’t loaning her money. I was giving her money. Marie and I hopped in our car and headed home. I’m hopeful the woman made it home safely too.
Being away from home sucks. Being close to home with no way of getting there sucks even more. If any of the chances I’d been given to spend the money worked out differently, I wouldn’t have had any money to help. I’d have spent the evening wondering if the woman made it home.
As I said, I choose to believe there is a purpose in this life. I believe there is a reason for what happens in our life. Good, bad or ugly. Sunday night, someone needed to get home.