The Day the Universe told us NOT to Gamble
My wife has won trips to the Super Bowl and the Atlanta Gran LeMans, among many other prizes. She does this with a bit of luck, but mostly through the daily hard work of an internet “system” she has perfected over the years.
So when she said we should drive to a casino in Louisiana on July 11 because it was “lucky 7/11”, and a certain casino was giving away additional prizes,† I quickly agreed. We rarely if ever go gambling, but my wife’s instincts are almost always dead on.
The universe was talking to us…just not quite in the way we were expecting.
About a month earlier, my wife’s car, an ultra-dependable BMW X5, had died at the most in-opportune time – driving to the airport to pick up my daughter, with other relatives in town for my son’s high school graduation. The BMW dealership had supposedly fixed the problem, an air sensor which when faulty made the reliable car sputter, not accelerate, then die.
As we were driving along I-10, almost to Lake Charles, my wife took over the driving. She wanted me to look up slot machine strategies: finding and playing the loose machines, how to maximize the payback percentages. She was excited and energetic; I knew she was tapped into something.
Then the trusty Bimmer died in the same way…only this time it was while we were going 70mph up the bridge leading into Lake Charles. It coughed, it sputtered, it wouldn’t accelerate…with an 18 wheeler in the rear view mirror, accelerating to make it up the bridge.
I flicked on the hazard lights, and, somehow on that two lane bridge, the truck managed to move to the right hand land and pass without crushing us.
The car would not restart (same symptoms as it had before) and I certainly could not work on it on the bridge with cars stacked up behind us in our lane and speeding past in the other.
Somehow, not more than a few minutes later, a gentleman from the Calcasieu Parrish Sheriff’s office magically appeared behind us, complete with a suburban that had pushing bumpers. He told me he had to get us off the bridge, and he was going to push us to the top and let us coast down.
We were more than happy to oblige.
It was slow going up, with cars speeding past us on the left, but coasting down was fun. We took the first exit, and rolled into the Lake Charles visitors center on Lakeshore drive.
A few minutes with my expert mechanical skills (not) and a call to the BMW folks who had supposedly fixed it last time, plus a visit from a local mechanic called by the visitor’s center convinced me that: (1) the car wasn’t going to be fixed today, and (2) the car probably wasn’t going to be fixed in Lake Charles.
Obviously the casino was not in our immediate future.
So we called a tow truck to haul my wife’s car to the closest BMW dealer (which was in Beaumont, and their service dept. was closed already) and called Avis to get a rental care at the Lake Charles airport. A good Samaritan named Susan from the visitor’s center offered to drive me to the rental car facility while my wife awaited the tow truck. On the ride, Susan told me she had just moved back to Lake Charles from Arizona, but thought she really belonged back in Arizona.
When Avis gave me a nice Hyundai Santa Fe with an Arizona license tag, I figured it was a sign of good luck changing.
I was wrong.
I went back, picked up my wife (the tow truck had just picked up the BMW heading for lovely Beaumont). We drove into downtown Lake Charles, looking for some food before heading home.
And then the Cadillac hit us.
Seriously. About an hour after we got the rental, a Caddy made an illegal left turn right in front of us. I couldn’t stop the Hyundai and we plowed right into them.
No one was hurt (even though the other driver had two kids with no belts), but scratch one rent car.
And once again, the parish Sheriff’s officers were immediately on the scene (along with about six witnesses that filled out accident reports citing the Caddy’s crazy driving).
Texans make fun of everyone else, but we are grateful for the parish Sheriff’s office and the Lake Charles police, who took care of everything. One even quipped to my wife “There’s always a cop when you need one” and he was right that day.
Avis towed another car to us, took the newly dented one away, and we quickly made our way away from casino land and back to Texas.
And bought lottery tickets…non-winning lottery tickets.
Just goes to show…you’ve got to listen to the universe, but sometimes you might misinterpret what it is saying!