And suddenly, the thunder actually hit a split second before the lightning, there was a blinding boom, and NPR shut off. The lights stayed on, curiously, but Mr. ABF noted that we had lost our internet connection. We thought we may have experienced a direct hit, but just the radio and not the lights? Not the television? We continued our morning, and less than an hour later Mr. ABF got in the car to drive Bella off, and clicked the button to open our brand-new, two-week old automatic gate opener (part of the kitchen reno was a driveway to get the cars off the street) and it was dead. Deader than dead.
Upon his return, we went in the basement to examine what the deal was. The cable that brings internet into our house (but not our televisions; we're satellite people) runs through a box, which was fine. The light was on. Everything on the other side of that box, however -- the wireless routers and so forth -- were blitzed. The radio happens to be right next to the box, we just rebooted that and it was fine. The wire from the gate opener happens to run out of the house hear the cable box as well, and the fuse box to the gate was black and still smoking.
We apparently got hit by lightning.
As if you didn't know that already.
My theory, and I'm no meteorologist, is that lightning actually hit the lightning rod on our house, which runs to ground right by where all this stuff enters our house. And the shock entered the house through the cable wire, not the electric. But whatever -- we're a few hundred bucks out of routing stuff (thankfully the only computer directly hooked up to the cable was on the third floor, and it was unaffected), and we're to disassemble, dig up, and send in the entire gate mechanism to see if they can fix it. It was a few days without internet.
And a few days of pondering odds. We joke about being struck by lightning, but according to the paper, 2,000 other people reported lightning strikes last Tuesday a.m. (including a friend about 20 miles west, who lost two televisions, both hooked up to cable. No other appliances). Sometimes lightning doesn't just hit you. And if it actually hits the rod, is that a good thing?
No sooner did we get internet access back, than we all piled in the car to go to NY for a friend's wedding. It was his second marriage, as his first ended right around the time he reconnected with Mr. ABF at our old location. I remember a lot of dinners where we invited this guy over and ate and chatted until late in the night. He later told Mr. ABF those dinners were a sort of lifeline for him. We proceeded to witness a good seven years of dates and girlfriends, some of which were deemed important enough to tell us about or even meet; some, apparently, not so much. He moved to NY, we moved here, we all stayed in touch.
For Spring Break, we crashed at his place for a few days while exploring NYC with Bella. He had just started a relationship with a new woman -- in fact, I believe we as a family accompanied them on dates three and four. She was lovely in appearance and spirit, and I was personally won over when Bella offered her a butterfly tattoo and she acted as though Bella was presenting her with a spa makeover. As we were leaving, friend told us he thought this was it -- this was the woman. I think the words "marriage" and "wife" and "killing my J-Date account" actually left his lips, in all our presence, and I wondered if he shouldn't dial it back.
A few weeks later, friend called and asked for Bella. We put her on the phone, and from our end we caught,
"Mmmhmmm, mhhhmm, oh. Yes. Purple. Ok. Here's my dad."
Turns out they're getting married, and Bella just agreed to be a flower girl. In June. It was April, end of. They had been dating approximately 50 days, and were planning to get married on their 100th day of knowing each other. I guess when you know, you know. Sometimes you're struck by lightning.
It was my first wedding since Maddy, and it was a bit strange. I had forgotten how overwhelming positive and happy and upbeat weddings are, and I seriously slouched in my seat, hoping the couple wouldn't catch sight of us and realize how when the rabbi said that "for better or for worse" part he really meant it. Sure, at the rehearsal dinner and the actual night of there was heartwrenching oration on how both the bride and groom each had lost a parent, and how both parents had remarried. (I know how much our friend's loss continues to touch him, and I'm relieved and grateful he found a soulmate with a similar missing piece.) This was followed by examples of how the parents showed them "how to love again," which I suppose for me was a bit touching-slash-bullshit.
Bella was a flower girl, decked out in floofy lilac, sprinkling rose petals. She was in heaven. She continually asked where the bride or groom were located, so she could offer hugs and ask "When are we eating cake?" "When is the chair dance?" At the end of the evening, as we were leaving, we slipped into the photo booth they couple had set up for the guests and Bella and I held hands, jumped up on the trampoline, and the flash went off.
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"Maybe," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"Maybe," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"Maybe," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"Maybe," said the farmer.
-- "Maybe," Stories from Zen Buddhism