The second day of February marks Groundhog Day. This is the day where a rodent prognosticator emerges from the ground and foretells if winter is over or if there will be six more weeks of the snowy season.
It’s hooey and all shades of malarkey that a groundhog can predict the weather, but the belief remains strong. So strong that some people may actually believe it. When the belief becomes that strong, that a superstition is born.
Superstitions always look silly when you are an unbeliever. But a belief is never a superstition if you are a believer.
I may mock Punxsutawney Phil for declaring this year that there will be six more weeks of winter solely because it saw it shadow this morning, but I have my own quirks that people would certainly snicker at if they only knew.
And now they will.
For no other reason than I had a really good day the first time I did it (and now I hope to recreate that luck every new morning), I always grab the undershirt that is at the second-to-bottom of my drawer.
For no other reason than I had a really bad night when it happened, I cannot hear a certain (and will remain nameless) song by Journey. If that tune ever pops up on the radio, I know I am guaranteed a twenty-four hour spell of nada but bad luck. In full disclosure, this is the song that played when the first girl I ever liked – and who liked me back – broke up with me at an 8th grade party.
For no other reason than it reminds me of a scene from Monty Python and the Life of Brian, I cannot pass by a lone glove on the ground. I must pick it up. And in those situations where it would be awkward to pick up said garment, I feel tense and moderately queasy. I guess that’s what happens when a superstition takes root. (For those who love this movie, I speak of the “We must follow the shoe” scene. I changed the “shoe” to “glove” because picking up and keeping random shoes from the street is just weird.)
However, there is one superstition that led me to my wonderful wife.
It’s all because of the belief/superstition that once I make a bargain with myself, a deal is a deal.
Our story starts in San Diego.
I was driving around the highways and roadways of America’s Finest City to find a place to live as I was about to make San Diego my new base to launch my career in radio. Late into my third day of searching, I was tired and frustrated. When I could even find a place that had vacancies, the room being offered was either too dingy, too expensive, or too small. Some places were all three. At four in the afternoon on this day, I was done. I was not looking forward to the ride home as the Southern Californian traffic up Interstate 5 would be starting to pile up. As I struggled on the unfamiliar San Diego roads to find the nearest freeway entrance, I drove down a small hill. Off to my right, I espied an apartment complex. A large banner proclaimed that rooms were still available. However, as my brain processed the message on the large sign, I had already passed the driveway.
Right then and there, I made a bargain with myself. I promised that if there was another driveway to this complex, I would stop in and see the manager. As I sealed the deal mentally with myself, there was indeed a second driveway on the right. However, when I pulled in, I saw that my way into the driveway was blocked by a large padlocked gate. There was a driveway, but I could not pass.
However, a deal is a deal, I sighed to my nonexistent passenger.
I wrote down the complex’s phone number, maneuvered my way back onto the road, and found a pay phone. Yeah, this tale involves a working pay phone. That’s how long ago this story takes place.
The manager was in and, wouldn’t you know it, there were two apartments available for rent. She showed me both. The first was a ground floor unit on the south side and I knew I didn’t want to be on the first floor. The only other apartment was on the third floor. It wasn’t cheap, but it was within my price range. It could use some cleaning, but not much. It was farther away from the beach than I would have liked, but not by much.
I put down a deposit and signed the lease.
That’s my story.
P.S. Five months later, I would meet the woman – who lived in the same apartment complex – who would later become my lovely wife…but the story of that meeting is a tale for another day.