Sometimes, it's comforting to know that, at the end of the day, there are a few basic principles which govern all interactions in the universe, and that they are always the same principles; the ones you've known your whole life.
No, I'm not talking about physics. Nor about math. I'm talking about principles much, much deeper, much more cosmically valid that those silly math and physics. I'm talking about Murphy's Laws.
Today, I had these foundational constraints of existence verified in a particularly potent manner.
I am still blessed enough to have my grandmother alive and healthy; she doesn't even have white hairs yet! And if God wills, she'll be alive long enough to see her great-grandkids graduate from college. For Christmas this year, she was kind enough to get me the wonderful gift of money, which, for a person in my current stage of life, is about the best gift you could possibly give.
She gave me this money in the form of a check. After Christmas, I got in a weird sleep cycle of going to sleep at about 7 in the morning and waking up at 4 in the afternoon - sadly, after the banks had closed. Today, I was up and had some free time to make a trip to the bank. But it had been a few weeks, and was for (to me) a lot of money, and I wasn't going to cash it without making sure she hadn't overlooked my check-non-chashing in her budget.
So I called her to ask. I, her only grandson, called my grandmother, who is semi-retired and lives in a house in the country. She didn't answer. I called again. No answer.
I was already on my way to the bank at this point (she's never not answered her phone before), so I went and ran a different errand while I waited for her to call me back. The other errand was that I needed three duo-tang folders and three college ruled spiral notebooks. If you don't know what duo-tang folders are, you actually do and don't know what they're called; they're the ones that have two separate folders and the brad-binders in the middle. I needed the colors red, blue, and green.
I went in to an office supply store located in a college town the week that classes resumed to buy the most simple, basic school supplies that could be listed.
They didn't have it.
They had every other kind of folder, and every other kind of notebook, not to mention briefcases and waiter checkbooks and home storage bins and print-paper calculators. Did not have duo-tang folders, nor college ruled spiral notebooks.
My grandmother still hadn't called me back (what the heck was she doing?) so I wandered around the store trying to find it, getting more and more frustrated. I looked in every aisle, because of course, of course they have duo-tangs and spirals, they have to; they're an office supply store and contractually bound to stock these things.
Thirty minutes went by, and she hadn't called me back. I sent her a text asking about the check, and she hadn't responded, either. A sales associate asked if I was finding everything, and I said no, and he then failed to locate the world's most basic school supplies in his store of school supplies.
Then I realized, that she is not going to call me back. I left the store without buying anything.
The town is more or less in a block grid, so if she had called at any time during my return journey, I could have turned around and gone back to the bank in moments.
She didn't call back on my way back.
So I turn on to my road, pull in to the driveway of my apartment complex, parked, got my stuff, got out, and closed the door.
SLAM! it went.
Except it wasn't just the sound of the door slamming. There was another sound with it. At the same moment, overlapping with it. If you imagine a clown riding a unicycle, this is the sound that first comes to your mind. It's the sound my phone makes when I get a text message.
I look at my phone, already knowing who it is and what it says, and knowing that I'm not going back to the bank today and will have to wait until tomorrow.
But it was almost refreshing to see, for that brief moment, the inner clockwork of the universe exposed to my viewing.