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  • Writer's pictureRosalind Kaplan, MD

The Mundane and The Inane

Rosalind Kapan

Fall of 2023 hasn't been a very generative time- for writing or anything else in my life. It seems like the past few months have dissolved in caustic solution of negative events. I keep waiting for the things, but so far, no dice.

The truly horrific stuff (i.e. Larry's bike accident, climate change, and the state of the world in general) have definitely rendered me silent at times. But putting all that aside, life has also been challenging me with the mundane and the inane.

Remember the kids' book series called A Series of Unfortunate Events? I think that's what I should call my daily life from September to now. It started with the third floor ceiling that fell in, and continued with a leak from a brand-new but defective washing machine through the basement ceiling and walls.

These house problems were followed by car problems: my electric car, purchased earlier this year, died in a parking garage, requiring multiple trips by AAA to get it started, because the first technician didn't know how to jump the 12V battery and the second one brought a tow truck that wouldn't fit in the garage. I guess three's a charm, because the third came with a tow truck that fit, but he was smart enough to try jumping the battery again before towing the car. It worked and I drove it directly to the dealer, where I found out that the car had just been recalled because of a defective 12V battery. I had to leave the car there for five days, though, because they had no time to get to it til then.

Brief interlude for comic relief: while my car was at the dealer, I called an Uber to take me to an appointment. My driver came quickly. His name was Scarface. Lots of people have since told me that they would think twice before getting in a car alone with someone named Scarface. But I truly believe you can't tell a book from its cover, so I didn't hesitate. And he wasn't what you'd think. I spent the twenty-five minutes of the trip hearing about how Donald Trump is the greatest man who ever lived. I was slightly traumatized by that, but felt quite safe physically.

Back to the shitstorm: for this one, I have to go back to the day after Larry's bike accident. I was supposed to be in traffic court that day. ( I won't belabor the original offense, but it was not a moving violation or a DUI or even 'equipment failure' that got me a ticket on the PA Turnpike eight months earlier. It was a paperwork thing- I'd forgotten to print out a new insurance card, and the state trooper refused my digital copy.)

Now, remember, my husband was in the trauma ICU with internal bleeding and 14 broken bones. So I missed my court date, because I was otherwise engaged. I knew I'd forfeit a few hundred dollars for the fines, but had no idea that much more than that could happen.

Guess what? A lot more can happen. Not long after my missed court date, I got a letter saying my driver's license was going to be suspended because I was driving without insurance (not true!). I had a month to appeal.

Fast forward to the present. I still have my license, but that's because my attorney is on the third appeal (you don't even want to think about the legal fees). The state of Pennsylvania deferred to Montgomery County, where the offense occurred, but Montgomery County says they don't have authority to reverse my 'conviction', so it has to go to the Court of Common Pleas, to be tried by the District Attorney's office. At this point, I'm just waiting for my orange jumpsuit and to have my shoelaces taken away.

As you may have gleaned, all this has been very time-consuming and distracting, and I haven't even included the dog's anal gland infection or the trip to the impound lot when my daughter's car was towed. It's the kind of stuff that might make a good story later, but not right now. I can't write anything because I'm waiting for the next disaster to strike.

I've been pretty desperate for my run of bad luck to end, so I did what any reasonable adult would do. I put a witchball in my window. If you've never seen a witchball, it's a glass orb with strands of blown glass forming a kind of 'webbing' inside it. Folklore says that it traps evil spirits that are trying to get into the house. Then I walked around the house burning a sage stick to cleanse it of any bad energy that was already inside.

So I'm guilty of cultural appropriation, and I'm probably not even performing the rituals properly. But like I said, I'm desperate, so please forgive me.

I'm not sure if my spell-breakers have worked. I think they might have, as nothing bad has happened (in my own tiny little world, that is) for almost a week, and a few of the problems, like the third-floor ceiling and the car battery, have been fixed. But I don't want to jinx myself. There are still outstanding issues. The court appeal and the basement repair are clearly going to ooze into 2024. And who knows what else lurks?

No matter what, I'm going to think positively, because I've been told by a few (tone-deaf) people that 'you make your own luck.' In which case, the whole problem is me.

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