Just one little thing…

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Last night, after coming home late, and looking for something to accompany my dinner of hot soup, I watched some throwaway episode of some throwaway show in syndication.

The premise of the episode was that just one little thing can change the outcome of your whole day. It was a riff on the Butterfly Effect complete with a CG butterfly.

I actually thought it was a clever bit of television writing, and it was highly satisfying, along with my chicken soup.

This morning, I had occasion to revisit this bit of chaos theory as I made my way into work.

I left the house a skosh later than I’d wanted to, and when I fired up the Jeep, the gas indicator began making noises at me. I had to stop for gas, making me run even later.

The closest gas station is located on a road out of town that I don’t usually take, because along that road there are three schools. The parents dropping off their kids always backs up traffic, so I avoid it.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. In addition to running later than usual, and running into school traffic by taking a road I normally don’t take, it turns out there was a traffic light blinking at the most critical intersection (right before the highway entrance). So traffic on that road was backed up for about five miles.

And because I sat for an hour on a road that should normally take ten minutes to traverse, I got to work much later than usual, meaning I had a hard time finding a parking spot. The one I did find was a tight squeeze by a wall in the parking garage, and so I dinged my own door on the way out.

It also means the work cafeteria was out of orange juice by the time I got there.

And my staff gave me an arched eyebrow when I did finally roll into my office.

All this really bodes for a great day, right? Ugh.

So as I sit here at my desk drinking coffee instead of OJ, I got to thinking about how just one little thing had ruined my whole good day.

At first I blamed the traffic light. That damn light! If not for the flapping butterfly wing of that stupid busted stoplight I would have made it to work on time!

But that’s not really true, is it?

It’s that I rolled out of the house late. Had I had my you-know-what together and left earlier, there would have been less traffic.

But that’s also not really true, is it? Because even leaving late, I would have taken a different road and been fine…if I had a full tank of gas.

The crux of this whole thing was my empty gas tank.

See, last night when I was driving home, my near empty gas tank was already beeping at me. I could have stopped for gas on the route home, but feeling lazy and tired, I chose not to.

So the flapping wing, really, was my decision not to stop and get petrol last night.

That one decision has blown my whole Wednesday morning.

And unlike the television show, I can’t do a second act on this day and show what would have happened if the decisions had gone differently.

I have to, as The Good Man says, “just play through”.

That there is chaos theory, Karen style.

What’s in a name?


The Good Man, being the very good man that he is, agreed to run my car into the shop today. So as such, he drove me to work this morning.

As we careened down the Bay Area highways, we were cut off by a Mercury Mountaineer.

I said to TGM, “The Mountaineer…that was never really a big hit, was it?”

TGM said, “No, it’s essentially a Ford Explorer anyway.”

Then I replied, “I always thought Mountaineer was a stupid car name anyway.”

Which tipped off a whole conversation about absurd car names…TGM was on a ROLL. I laughed my head off and in the middle of his rant, I said, “I foresee a blog entry.”

So here it is. The content below is mostly stolen from the brilliant mind of TGM.

Without further ado, my top five most absurd names of cars you’ll see rolling on the roads today:

5. Nissan Armada. “What, is the main feature that it sinks off the coast of England?” said TGM (A comment that had me laughing so hard I got a stitch in my side.)

4. Dodge Durango. What a wimpy SUV name. Have these people ever actually BEEN to Durango. I have. And what is it about the sleepy Colorado town that the car should evoke? Am I supposed to think snow? And mountains? No, I think tourist trap. Look at me in my rolling tourist trap.

3. Chevy Avalanche. “Now that name is appropriate, it is a disaster rolling down a hill.” (TGM was on fire this morning.)

2. Toyota Echo. “It’s bears a faint resemblance to a car, but isn’t actually a car.”

1. The winner and still the King: Ford Probe. “I sure as hell don’t want something made by Ford up in space,” said TGM. To which I replied “or up my butt”.

Yes, childish as I am…the Ford Probe makes me think of something more…medical. I don’t want to think of uncomfortable medical situations while driving to work every morning.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyhow…there were plenty more, but I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t make notes.

Special thanks to TGM for both his brilliance and for making the ride to work more fun.

If you drive any of the above automobiles, I’m sure it’s a *fine* car…just has a dorkish name! :)