Thursday, February 20, 2014

Where my faith in humanity is restored...

So, lately I'd been thinking that I'd done something to seriously mess up my karma, but I couldn't narrow down any one event. I'm a good person, damn it, and I try to treat others the same way that I want to be treated.

I was having a series of ridiculous or stupid things happening to me, in rapid succession.

Such as, going to my parents' house to bring in their mail, and managing to drop my copy of the Volkswagen key into the ONE spot where I can't get it. I mean, the odds of this were just... so slim. But the key somehow came off my key ring (it wasn't even the whole key ring), and drop into the ivy next to the porch. When I went to pick it up, I accidentally brushed it between side of the cement porch, and a gap where my dad had placed a brick to prevent animals from getting under the porch. The brick had moved a bit over time, and there was about an inch and half gap between the brick and the porch. As I tried to reach in there, I managed to knock the key deeper under the porch. And I can't move the brick, because it's frozen into the ground.

The key is still there. Unless, of course, a squirrel sees it, says, "Shiny!" and runs off with it.

And there was overdrawing my checking account, because I'd messed up the online bill pay on our second most expensive payment (the Volkswagen, actually). I'd neglected to change the date, so the payment went out a week and half early.

Then yesterday morning, at about 7:40am, after a particularly rough commute to work, I slipped on a patch of ice on the sidewalk that runs parallel to the Midway, and went crashing to the ground. Chicago has had a couple days of warm weather to thaw out from under all this snow, but it's still cold enough overnight to freeze the melt-off.

This is the sidewalk on the Midway, during the winter. Imagine this, but with frozen melt-off.
I was unhurt, aside from my ego. So I picked myself up, gathered my belongings, and trudged the rest of the way to my office (nearly falling at least one more time).

An hour later, as I was still ruminating on my crappy run of luck, my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but I answered anyway.

It was my library, which is out in the Suburbs where I live. The librarian was asking if I'd lost my keys. I was caught off guard. I asked what she meant.

She explained that she'd gotten a call from Juan at the University of Chicago. He'd picked up a set of car keys, and was trying to find the owner. So he'd called the phone number that was on the little tag that served as my library card. She said that while they won't give out my information, she offered to take his name and number, and that she'd call me.

I hadn't even realized that I'd been holding my keys when I fell. I usually beep my car locked, and the drop the keys into my pocket. In this case, I remembered that once I'd crossed the street, I'd been unsure if I'd locked the car, so I beeped it one more time before I started walking through ankle deep snow to get to the sidewalk. I must have not put the keys back into my pocket before I fell, and I wasn't very far from where I'd parked when it happened.

So, had Juan not picked up my keys, and gone above and beyond to find out who they belonged to, I would have gotten to my car that afternoon, and one of two things would have happened:

1) My car would have still been there, but I would have been unable to get in, and likely freaked out trying to find the keys. Ultimately, I would have had to have called Bill at work, and had him drive to the University with the extra key. He would have done it, of course, but he would have made sure that I knew he wasn't happy about it.

2) My car wouldn't have been there, because some asshole would have picked up the keys, pointed them at the line of cars to see which one they belonged to, and stolen my car.

As you can see, I have twelve different tags on there.
Honestly, the library card was Juan's best shot of finding the owner of the keys. Everything else was all retail stuff - including a Jewel card that is so old, that I don't even know what contact information they have on file for me. And heck, Dominick's is now closed. And everything else? He probably wouldn't have even gotten in touch with a real person.

Also, I'd only put that library card on the key ring in the last month, after it languished in my wallet for the better part of half a year.

I ended up calling Juan, who works in IT on the Hospital side of the University. We arranged to meet, and I picked up my keys shortly thereafter. I offered to buy him a cup of coffee, but he already had one!

This whole thing made me realize that my karma isn't totally screwed up after all. There are still good people left in the world, and good things still do happen to good people.