The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

January 31, 2011

Leaving Nothing to Chance

Filed under: Random Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 2:02 am

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few days now, but I’m just now getting around to it.  Although I tend to use my Blog mostly as a forum to blather in public about nothing in particular, it does also serve the purpose of acting on occasion as a personal journal in which I can write down things that I feel need to be preserved, and this is one of those instances.  My hope is that eventually the contents of this Blog will be preserved in some form that will allow any future offspring that I may someday produce (assuming I can manage at some point to stop being so freakin’ single all the time) to have some record.  I suspect that this will serve either to make them a) think that Grandpa Brian was out of his flippin’ mind or b) maybe learn a few lessons and stop making the same stupid mistakes I do on a regular basis, but at the same time, when interesting things happen, I do want to keep a record of those as well.  This is the story of an interesting incident that happened about a week ago, which I feel needs to be shared  With exactly who I don’t know, but I feel it needs to be shared nonetheless.

As I’ve discussed a number of times here, through a fortuitous series of events, about three months ago I ended up with a job that has me working approximately 2 1/2 blocks from home, which means that I can easily walk to work.  On an average day it takes me about 10-15 minutes to get to the office, give or take a couple for the timing of the crosswalk signals and the elevators.  Given the fact that I have to cross the same streets each day to get there, I find that my route to and from work can vary a bit, but still follows the same general path.  One thing that I’ve noted recently though is that the NE 8th and 110th intersection seems to attract an abnormally large number of people trying to cross it in, to put it diplomatically, interesting ways.  I’ve seen people dashing across the road as the light was turning yellow, sauntering across the road as the light was turning yellow, just plain crossing into the direction of oncoming traffic…  Add to that the fact that occasionally one of the crossing signals seems to be napping on the job and delays putting up the walk signal after the green light or ignores it completely, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if something happened here.  All in all, it doesn’t exactly seem like the safest intersection in the world, so I make sure to wait for the walk signals before crossing (as do most people, save the aforementioned random lunatics.)

It’s this unpredictability with the signals that, in a bit of an unusual roundabout way, led to an interesting set of circumstances a couple of weeks ago that was just far too coincidental for me to believe that it was random.  On Friday night I was walking home from work by the normal path that I took when I reached this intersection, and as described above, the walk signal on the southern crosswalk was delayed by about fifteen seconds after the light turned green for the eastbound traffic.  When the walk signal came on, a car that was making a right turn here from NE 8th stopped to let the pedestrian (me) go, but as the driver of this car stopped, another car couldn’t stop in time and clipped its left rear fender (it was too dark to really see it, but the damage looked minor.)  After a second or so, the car remained stopped, so I continued crossing  the street.  There was someone else at the corner who wasn’t crossing there so there was a witness, so I figured they’d have someone to take care of it.  After I crossed the other crosswalk, I looked back and thought I should at least check on them and see if they need any assistance, so I went back to the intersection, crossed again, but by the time I got back across, I couldn’t find the car that had been hit.  I’m not sure if there’s anything I could have done in the first place, but I figured I should at least check.

Anyway, this little detour to try to find the car that had been hit had diverted me from my normal route home.  The quickest route from where I was involved cutting through the Bravern, which leads out to the intersection of NE 8th and 112th, just about right next to the building and the elevator I take up to my apartment.  As soon as I reached this intersection and was waiting for this crosswalk, I happened to run across a friend of mine from my former Singles Ward at church who I hadn’t seen in quite a while.  As it turned out, the reason he was there was that about an hour earlier his car had broken down in the middle of 405 and blocked traffic for some time, and he had to have it towed to the Nissan dealer near my apartment.  When I met him, he was in the process of walking up to the Transit Center to try to get a bus back to his apartment in Kirkland.   Since I was right next to my apartment and didn’t have anywhere I needed to be at the time, I was able to offer him a ride back to his place, and hopefully make a bad situation a little bit better in the process.

As I look back on that unusual set of circumstances which, in a roundabout way, led me to a situation in which I could be of assistance, I just can’t believe that something like this would occur at random.  There’s just too much coincidence involved for this to be coincidental.  After all, if not for the fender-bender that happened at the crosswalk, I would have just taken the usual path I take to my apartment and wouldn’t have been where I needed to be.  In order for this to happen, I needed to somehow be diverted.  Usually I suspect this can be accomplished by something a bit more subtle than a fender-bender, but I have an occasional tendency to be stubborn about this type of thing.  I also needed to be somehow delayed, otherwise I wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time.  There’s just too many things that had to happen to bring this about, and I suspect that the odds of all these things happening by pure chance alone would be quite slim and bordering on impossible. 

As some of you may know, I am a member of the LDS Church, and one of our church’s beliefs is that each of us is, as long as we remain worthy of it, entitled to the companionship of the Holy Ghost to provide help and guidance, and to provide warnings of impending dangers such that they may be avoided.  There are also numerous stories of miraculous occurrences in various forms, but those tend to be rare, and often considered too sacred to discuss publicly by those who have been their recipients.  While I believe that miracles do happen, as we’re all trying to make it through the assorted trials and tribulations of mortality in one piece, oftentimes what we need is something a bit more mundane, be it an occasional helping hand or some assistance with some task you can’t complete on your own.  Members of our church are frequently called upon to provide service to others, either formally through the various organizations of the church  (one of the major factors that distinguishes the LDS church from many others is the lack of a paid ministry, and the fact that most of the functions of the church are performed by members of the congregation called by their local leaders) or informally on an ad hoc basis depending on whatever needs may arise.  I do have to admit that sometimes I can be far from a shining example to others, and that I’ve been known to make the sane dumb mistakes over and over, but I do believe at the same time that things happen for a reason, and that this particular incident was an example of this.  Many times I’ve found that one way or another things always seem to work out (although, as I’m sure I’ve said before, over the course of the past year I’ve found that they’ve been happening in the “or another” category a lot more than I’m used to) and that even if I’m not necessarily expecting it, there are times when I may be the inadvertent solution to someone’s problems. 

I can’t say that I know for sure how things happen or why they happen, but I do know that when things like this do happen, they don’t happen at random.

1 Comment »

  1. This is awesome. It so happens that guy you ran into is a friend of mine as well, I’m glad you were able to help him out :)

    Comment by Windy Dawn — January 31, 2011 @ 11:42 am

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