All my life, without searching, I’ve found 4 leaf clovers. Even 5,6 and 7 leaf clovers, whose luckiness I always wondered about. Is finding a 6 leaf clover like an external super power, or is it anti – luck? 3 is ordinary, 4 is lucky, more is a rare curse? I once read the chances of finding a 4 leaf clover are 1 in 10,000 , (or was it 100,000?) so what are the odds of my collection of 50+ clovers? And furthermore, who said it was Good luck they bring?
My husband’s second or third tattoo is a little snake accompanied by the words, “Shit Luck.” Have you heard the phrase, “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any”?
Take, for example, our experience this summer. We finally got our school bus, the long awaited realization of a dream. We ripped out all the seats, put in a bench seat and beds, made the space our home and began round one thousand of our family’s possession purge. (I’ve gotten so much better at this process than when I first tried, nearly 4 years ago, so convinced that I Needed all my things.) My husband hears from a fellow traveler and so he and his road dog (human travel companion) set out in the bus, and I finish up with the road readying and set out a few days later in the car with the kids.
My husband calls me one night as I’m setting up camp in the sultry Kansas evening. The bus broke down, he tells me. He and the fellow he went to pick up walked some 10 miles into town. There’s an issue getting our whale of a vehicle towed. (It’s a short bus, but it never fails to make AAA nervous.) I make the rest of the journey the next day to the place he’s stuck. We wait through the weekend. The owner of the shop where the bus is languishing is kind enough to let us still sleep in our beds on board. Walmart provides bathrooms some yards away. We’re hopeful, exuberant, finally on the road as a family! The heat, nor the home bum who calls himself Luscifer and has decided our bus is the drinkin spot, can keep us down!
And then we get the news. Despite all the new parts the previous owner put into the bus, he still had the old engine in there. And it’s shot. Toast. No hope. At least 1k for a new one. We call around to find out the price of an engine swap on a beast like this. We’re met with quotes of 5k. That’s ten times what we stole the bus for!
It seems all is lost. The journey is over before it began. But we’re not okay with that. This is our dream! We’ll stick it out, I’ll get a job, we’ll find a place to park where Luscifer doesn’t show up at 7am with dementia patients whose family abandoned them at McDonald’s, leaving them to believe they’re going hitchhiking with bums until police come to respond to noise complaints on said bum and find aforementioned 90 year old lost grandpa.
We drive all over town, asking everyone with a huge parking lot if we can take up a parking space indefinitely. The churches want nothing to do with us. The shelter can let us park if we pay by the month for a unit inside and sign forms agreeing not to panhandle. The police say it can be parked anywhere, but we can’t sleep in it and it has to be moved every three weeks or if will be ticketed. No one is having it.
Finally we get permission to park in the field next to the dog park, near the river and the big city park, which includes an intriguing menagerie resulting in the sounds of crying peacocks and donkeys regularly piercing the sizzling summer air. Air which is rife with the biggest mosquitoes any of us have ever seen, so the windows have to tightly closed through sweat drenched nights.
I got a job and we began working towards our goal… Until a timing belt in the car snapped, resulting in several broken heads (this is my girl understanding of the problem. If you’re techanically inclined and I said the wrong thing, hopefully you still get it) and now we have a little Sophie’s Choice on our hands-keep a functioning vehicle, but one we can’t live in, or give up our transportation and keep our sleep space. Ultimately we got a bike, which led to the discovery that North Platte is goat head hell. I think the bike had a total of 7 flat tires before we gave up.
There were other snafus and colorful events and our time in Nebraska resulted in an interesting collection of tales, but in the end it wasn’t the shit luck that won out, even if the car did go for parts at a ridiculously low price ($73), and the bus continued to wilt in a storage lot. For once the police saved the day, including bringing us deer steaks and towing the bus. One officer even made up one third of the team who PUSHED the bus to its place in the lot of despair. They had our backs when the pastor of the Nazarene church tried to tear our family apart for no other reason than our unwillingness to offer up our children’s brains to the church. A colossus of a storm churned through town sometime in July, and missed our broken little house on wheels by one block.
And, in the end, all of our troubles led to new, unforseen circumstances with people who love nothing more than to help us achieve our dreams. So is even “shit luck” just the wrong way of looking at forks in the road, only because we expected spoons? Or is it the mischievous universe’s backhanded compliments?
A seven year old in Washington D. C. told me it’s bad luck to give them away if you find 4 leaf clovers. I guess I’ll just start holding on to them from now on and see what happens.