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Why is it that when I finally reach the very brief part of my one hour morning yoga routine that involves trying to quietly meditate, I almost always get interrupted? Why is this the exact moment when the dog starts barking hysterically at the mailman or the neighbor coming to return a wrench he borrowed last summer? Is it a bizarre sign from the universe that I’m not supposed to meditate? Or is it because I am trying to open an empty space that the universe immediately feels the need to fill it with some task or problem? Nature abhors a vacuum and seems intent on diverting a sudden backwash into the clear channel my mind uses to empty itself.

In the same way, if there happens to be a cancellation in my daily schedule and I think, “ah, the perfect time to take a nap,” the last email I try to send will crash my computer and when I try to restart it the screen will go blank requiring me to call tech support and spend my free hour on hold waiting to talk to an expert in India who will fail to help me with my problem but will recommend a great hotel to stay at in Mumbai if I ever happen to be in the area.

Why is it that on my little side street there is always a car coming the other way that arrives right in front of my driveway at the exact moment that I am trying to turn into it? If I try to slow down so that it will pass before I get there, they will also slow down. If I speed up, they will also speed up. For some reason the universe insists that I wait to pull in to my driveway. The same is true when I’m trying to back out of my driveway. There may be no traffic at all for ten minutes before I start my car, but as soon as I’m backing up there is suddenly a slow-moving caravan going in both directions, often including an Amazon delivery vehicle that stops directly across the street from me so that there is suddenly a bottleneck right where I’m trying to back up that takes several minutes to dissipate. Where there were previously no pedestrians on the sidewalk, a field trip from the elementary school takes the opportunity to march by on their way to the park. Does the universe enjoy watching as I sit idly, staring into my rear-view mirror as the parade goes by, realizing that I will once again be late for whatever appointment or event I thought I had timed perfectly? Or is it just trying to tell me to slow down and stop believing that I have any real control over how time and life and traffic unfold?

Why is it that the repair guy, whose company generously gave me a four- hour window when he might arrive to fix our broken stove, begins pounding on my door at exactly the moment when I am sitting down on the toilet? And no, I can’t wait. And no, apparently, he can’t either because by the time I am finished he has already vanished, written me up as a no-show, and the repair company is now going to charge $75 for a missed appointment and can’t reschedule for another two weeks. What is the message I am supposed to learn here, universe? That I shouldn’t eat so much take-out Mexican food for dinner? Well, maybe if I had a working stove I could cook myself something less explosive and unpredictable. But no, you have too much fun putting me in these impossible, no-win situations to want to make my life easy and predictably boring.

Why is it that the one afternoon in the past two years that I plan to have a picnic for friends in our backyard is the exact time when the power company decides it will send a crew to trim all the trees along the back fence line of our property? Does the universe think that the guys in cherry pickers wielding chainsaws and pulp-eviscerating machinery somehow add to the ambiance of our chic menu of burgers and tofu dogs? Is it trying to suggest that I should invite the tree-trimming crew to join us instead of leering hungrily at our beautiful potluck spread, now becoming encrusted with a fine mist of flying sawdust?

The only conclusion I can make is…. Oh no! The fire alarm is going off! I forgot I put a pan of cookies in the oven! I gotta go…

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