Why I Have Bad Luck (Or Not Another Earthquake Story)

Last Saturday, I could be heard saying more than once that this summer sucked. Nothing big had happened. Then Mother Nature and Mercury Retrograde were like, "Biiiitch."
Publish date:
August 25, 2011
superstition, earthquake

When you were a 5th-grader, did you ever hold your breath for a block (and a half) in order to mentally muscle your mother into letting you stay up for Arsenio? No? Maybe you were an early Leno fan back then. Still, I'm guessing 10-year-old you was fully confident in her abilities to control the universe by all manner of psychic Pilates.

For me these exercises were as follows: touching at least three lamp posts a day with my pinky, freezing my feathered bangs at least two inches above my forehead, making certain every single door in the house was closed at all times, checking the front door lock before bed after my mother checked it, sleeping on my back (which also made boobs) and skipping every other step with alternating feet.

According to elementary-school me, those daily rituals made sure that our rent was paid, that the Rapture didn't come before I was ready, that I got another "A" and that Justin Leonardi would touch my knee at lunch. I was living The Secret before I started shaving my legs. Which is to say I was a very high strung pre-pubescent.

Now carry over that dominating principal into your 30s and you get a very high-strung almost-adult with a fraction of a child's vigilance. Every once in a while I'll encounter an as-yet-to-be-leapt-over crack, remember my superstitions and laugh at how simple the world was then. Do this and that happens. Oh, pish posh you silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.

Yeah, then my boyfriend got hit by a cab.

Then some fool left two open umbrellas in the foyer. Then there was an earthquake. And then my Ikea mirror broke. All these "thens" happened in quick succession of one another and my first thought was, "What the heck did I do?"

I've been skulk-y lately. Frustrated with deadlines I have no choice but to deliver on and a bank account that won't let me be great. Last Saturday, I could be heard saying more than once that this summer sucked. Nothing big had happened. Then Mother Nature and Mercury Retrograde were like, "Biiiitch."

The thing I'm worried most about is the mirror (Ike, my boyfriend’s nom de plume, is totally and thankfully unscathed) because it could really make things worse for me. We're talking seven years bad luck. And apparently my soul is in jeopardy.

After doing some preliminary poking around, I've learned that mirrors are reflections of your spiritual self (i.e., soul) and breaking them is equivalent to destroying your inner being. According to some ancient Roman astrological stuff, it takes seven years for your cells, body and/or soul to regenerate. That's where the whole seven years back luck thing comes from. Also, God rested on the seventh day so Dan Brown could sell a lot of books and I could get all freaked out.

By now it should be more than clear that I don't go to church. I'm one of those people who go, "Oh, yeah, I'm just more spiritual than anything." When in reality I like to sleep in on Sundays -- a lot like how God did if you think about it.

What I do believe is that everything is connected. There is no other explanation for the fact that I can tell someone's staring at me without having to look besides there being an invisible "Avatar"-esque connection between all life that we humans are just too primitive to tap into and then use to type with our minds. Or get our moms to let us watch Arsenio.

All that is to say that 10-year-old me had it right all along and if me me doesn't get it together, more bad things might happen. Although my dog, Miles, was not in the room when the mirror crashed down from the wall like a meteor, so perhaps things aren't as bad as they seem. Or maybe on my mad dash home after the earthquake I inadvertently touched three lampposts, my bangs flying two inches high in the wind.

There are a few known cures to a broken mirror, most notably burying it or grinding it down to a fine dust. I live in D.C., so this is not happening. My plan is to have Ike carry it out back; then I'm going to throw some dirt on top of it, spin around three times and say some words, like "This is dumb" despite committing to it completely.

Because this summer has been big -- I'm growing up in ways I hadn't imagined and there are opportunities in the sky for the grabbing. All I need to do is let go of that breath I've been holding.