“Well we’ve all had COVID get in the way of something the past year, haven’t we?” the airline ticket agent said to arouse empathy.

“Actually no,” I said, “this is the first time it’s intervened in any of my plans.”

Sort of.

Sure, I have had to change a lot of habits in my life, but quite honestly they have turned into conveniences more than consequences. For example: online ordering and package delivery straight to my car? Yes, thank you. Standing 6 feet away from strangers? Yes, thank you. Limiting my excursions to off hours and/or ticketed entrances only to minimize crowding? Yes, definitely thank you.

Rescheduling a plane trip to New York to be with a new girlfriend which you both had been planning for the last month?

No thank you.

“Nature is the God of men,” my brother blatantly stated when “the virus” started. (See previous post The Difficulty of Not Doing for an evolution of the name.) Seems even I forgot; my ego rising up the totem pole of pride and marvel at how far we’ve come.

Turns out I am not getting on a plane today. I am staying home, monitoring my health for symptoms after an elderly person (fully vaccinated with a booster) tested positive a few days after a small Thanksgiving gathering.

“Wow,” my girlfriend said when I called her with the news. “I did not see this one coming.”

“I know!” I said. “We planned for so many things. This? Definitely not.”

Thank goodness everyone else (including myself) so far is testing negative. Thank goodness this person’s symptoms are mild. Thank goodness for vaccinations and health care and hospitals and essential workers and available testing. But still universe. . .WHY?!?

This is not the first time I have asked this question.

Seven years ago I was driving home—pre-brain injury et al—excited to watch a television special with one of my favorite hosts. I had picked up a delicious dinner and was actively imagining how everything that evening was going to go PERFECTLY. . .when. . .in a fraction of a second the car ahead of me swerved to avoid a dawdling pigeon playing the “I dare you do hit me” game as it stepped off the sidewalk into the road.

And then. . .

THUMP.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I screamed, slowing the car down but with traffic unable to pull over. My hands started shaking and my eyes darted to the rearview mirror.

Did what I think happened just happened? I asked myself, although I knew it did. The word MURDERER flashed in the foreground of my imagination. Everything was ruined. The rest of the drive I replayed the incident over and over again vying for a different outcome.

When I arrived home I didn’t care about the television special. I let my dinner grow cold as I took a long walk. There is an adage, “Friends help you move; real friends help you move bodies,” and even though we were not technically moving a body there was one involved (of the avian kind), so it seemed no exception. I dialed one of said friends and to my relief, she answered.

“Oh Amy,” she said, in her loving and compassionate way after hearing the story. “You don’t know. . .maybe that pigeon was carrying a disease and on its way to poison a whole flock. You could have done a great service! You never know.”

And THAT is exactly why I called her.

This story came to mind a few days ago as I was on my way to COVID test number two. Perhaps it came forth as consolation, perhaps it came forth as prophecy; I can’t be sure. Perhaps it came forth as a friendly reminder that maybe things don’t happen TO me, they happen FOR me, and I don’t have to know all the answers, just for today.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
—Voltaire