Lucky 13

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We were in Vegas on Friday the 13th, and we got really, really lucky.

At the time, it didn’t feel that way. We thought we’d broken even.  We decided that Dave’s big win on Thursday the 12th made up for the long string of lost twenties the next day. But wouldn’t that make the two twenties we gave to the airport slots on Saturday the 14th a loss? Not a big loss, but still. When you’re in Vegas on Friday the 13th, shouldn’t there be some kind of crazy contrary luck that kicks in?

Maybe we didn’t spend enough, I thought as we waited for our delayed flight and listened to our niece describe how she had won big at the same slot machine her dad favors. I thought, why didn’t I try that slot machine? And really, it wasn’t the money, it was the wanting to win. I wanted to be able to come back and say, “Gosh, it was so easy,” all smiles and shrugs. “I guess I we just got lucky.”

When we got back to Chicago, our friends who had watched Django picked us up from the airport and drove us back to their place, where we’d left our car. After some small talk, they told us that the night before, someone had gone on a car bashing binge in the area. Sixteen cars in all, in an area where this doesn’t happen, where people park on the street all the time, even if they have a garage. Whoever did it, a kid or a gang or whoever, probably used a baseball bat. Windows, body, windshield, all smashed. Our friends had heard something during the night, but when they looked outside they didn’t see anything. The next morning, they learned what had happened. It happened to the car parked directly in front of ours.

I immediately thought, Thank God we didn’t park in that spot. Like somehow we’d made a good choice, and the kid who lost his car, a car he took meticulous car of, shoveling it out all through the winter’s blizzard, washing and polishing it himself, he made a bad choice. When in fact, exactly where we parked was random. Exactly where the kid parked was random. The exact moment the thug or thugs decided to wield the bat on this particular block in this particular neighborhood was random. We just got lucky on Friday the 13th. And the kid who lost his perfect car didn’t.

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