I wonder how many people are acquainted with Murphy's Law. I found out about it as a child the old-fashioned way. Spotted a book, got curious, read on, and had my bubble burst, the first of many anyway. Contradicting the popular, happy notion that the Universe has a good plan for me, this supposed law of nature said that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and that the Universe will try to do me dirty any chance it gets.
You can imagine, a child of eleven, one who was a staunch believer in reciprocation and the idea of doing unto the world as you would have it do unto you was not thrilled at this exposition. But, post that initial jolt of an unexpected revelation, the theory never troubled me much, because it never panned out. That is, until today.
It's no secret I'm averse to early mornings, especially when I haven't had my quota of a good night's sleep. So, when I realized I have to be up at dawn to board a train, I decided to finally fulfill my teenaged dream of staying up all night. Needless to say, the minute I was left bereft of a stimulating preoccupation, I crashed. See, I never not want to sleep. But like with everything else, there are terms and conditions associated, it being that I need an uninterrupted span of three or more hours. I'm very Garfield-y that way.
Bottomline, my morning started with my head in an undead state, not to mention a generous sprinkling of grumpiness. My ill-temper was somewhat subdued from the fact that we were going to try out the new vistadome coach. Little did I know that's where the morning would officially turn into a shitshow.
I usually arrive at any station a good half hour before schedule. Smart, no? Well, it would've been if I'd remembered to check the coach position beforehand. In my daze, I idly let twenty minutes pass by while I waited for the platform display boards to tell me where to go. Since we were initially situated bang in the middle of the platform, I made a judgement call and went a certain direction to look for the fancy new carriage. We were four minutes from departure, and I was running around. Unsought exercise, just what I needed.
Anyway, I spotted the coach before ours, and ran back to get Ma and our luggage. We got there, in time too. Only, as it turns out, the train has been upgraded in a way where the only two vistadome coaches are situated at the opposite ends of a train. Meaning, any fool who operates under the presumption of natural order and continuity is in for a rude shock. And a hauntingly long walk that spans the entire length of the train, to get to their correct car.
Taking into consideration my young-at-heart-but-old-at-knees mother and the bags, I made yet another judgement call to skip the last-second hustle, and just internally navigate to our seats at the other end of the train. It would take what, five minutes, tops. An uncomfortable idea, but not revolting yet. We got on and started our train version of the travelling-salesman schtick.
It's painful enough to move when all you want to do is curl up. But doing that aboard a train, where passengers play statue on the aisle - let's face it, we were getting close to revolting. Amidst this locomotion at 6:30AM game we were being forced to play, I stubbed my toe against one of those infernally heavy doors. A bruise which is still bleeding, by the way. But it didn't bother me at the moment. I just wanted to get to my fancy, illogically placed coach.
We were halfway through when we ran into a kind TTE who made a sympathetic inquiry about our movement. That's when it happened. He reluctantly informed us that our car isn't internally connected with the rest of the train. You know, the deluxe, removed experience. Which went to say, that till the next stop, which was about ninety minutes away, we were stranded. Perfect.
We were relatively easily accommodated. Ma found a vacant seat, and an adorable family of three personally offered me their own seat to relieve my plight. As irritated as I was, humanity won my heart over, and things settled down for a bit. But of course, as Mr. Murphy called it, the very thing that calmed me down was about to aggravate me tenfold in the next few minutes.
On being asked to confirm his seat by an attendant, an abhorrent excuse of a man single-handedly started a rather unnecessary ruckus. Something about how one should stay within their status, and that the attendant's only job is to serve at the pleasure of the passengers. I spent the rest of my time wondering how some folks can be rendered so inhuman by something as fickle as wealth.
I'll skip ahead. Any excitement I had remaining had dissipated by the time we got to our seats, which were pretty good, I'll admit. But, a quiet room, my bed and a bandaid were all I had on my mind. We got off and drove home, but the morning wasn't over yet. Owing to a last little antic from the cosmos, Ma couldn't find the housekey. We spent a long enough while emptying her purses, only to eventually realise she'd put it in her luggage.
So, that was my day. A non-excellent start to the weekend for a non-excellent week. As testing as it was, it left me with a great deal of food for thought. Think about it. The difficult tragedy I had to deal with was that I had to trade my extravagant seat with a lesser-but-still-extravagant seat, and only for a little while. I had to give up on a bit of sleep, which I did voluntarily. Sure, I had to endure an insufferable person, but I did it in the company of some people who selflessly got involved to protect the dignity of a hardworking individual. I was temporarily locked out of my house, yes, but, I had domestic help, and anything else I needed was just a phone call away.
It's ridiculously easy to forget your privilege at the slightest inconvenience. While trivialising your issues, whatever they may be, is never acceptable, remaining cognizant of your prerogative helps shift things into perspective. A conscious outlook can be the difference between a sour temperament and a gratefully positive disposition.
If I remember nothing else, I hope I remember this. Gratitude brings abundance, always. Everything else is figureoutable.