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Published: February 17th 2010
I wonder where does this weird name comes from
When a man finds himself one night in Des-Moines, Iowa, he should really examine the decisions that led him there. For me, it made me think luck and chance.
Despite the fact that this whole trip seems kind of made up at the last minute, I've actually planned it pretty well. I had a full itinerary from Boston to Los Angeles, with a couple of possible variations, that's it. I knew what I've wanted to do on the way and whom I meant to meet.
Everything seemed to be ordered. But as usual, chaos had something to say about my trip too. For instance, when I've decided to reopen this blog I didn't know that a certain faithful follower of this blog (Hi A!) will notice I'm in Boston, alert her son which was also in Boston (Hi M!) and upgrade my time there considerably (and not only since he got me to the Harvard Natural History Museum for free :-). Oh, and speaking on museums for free, my generous hosts in Chicago gave me a membership ticket to the Science and Industry Museum that not only got me in and my coat checked for no charge, it actually
made it possible to go in since, as you can see in the photo, the waiting line was horrific. Saved by the card, as they might say.
But I'm not talking here only on lucky breaks. The chaotic of the world around you has a tendency to make decisions for you, or at last strongly suggest an option. And against my nature, my experience is actually that you better heed to those suggestions, and go with the flow. Especially since the chances are that you will have to change your plans anyway, and who is rally to say your original decisions were best?
All this might sound trivial to some of you, but since it is still counter intuitive for me, I feel justified to illustrate.
What happened to me in Boston was a good example. I wanted to go on the night bus out, the weather didn't agree, and I had a wonderful time on the day bus the next morning. Was it better than if I actually took the night bus? I don't know and more importantly, I have no way of knowing. But if I would have been thinking about how my plans were disrupted,
it would not have mattered since I would feel the failure. To be free is to be flexible.
And yesterday it happened again, the original plan was to go from Chicago to Denver by St. Louis, break the long ride and spend half a day and a night there. For time consideration this was shortened to just the day, and then just an hour between buses in which I planned to go on the Gateway Arch, and have a look on the west before actually going there on the night bus to Kansas city and connect to Denver.
So I was in the Chicago bus station at 9am, more than an hour before my bus, all ready to go. And there were no buses. Greyhound didn't have any buses in Chicago due to the weather on the East coast, for same reason. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more.
In the mean time I struck a conversation with a Navaho Native American who tried to speak German to me (turns out my accent make people think I'm either German or Dutch here). We had a nice conversation about his and my native languages (did you know they
Sun rise over the plans
The reward for the night bus.
have "clicks" in Navaho?), about the conservation he lives in and the casinos he built. Eventually he decided not to wait any longer and stay in Chicago one more day but before he left he advised me to go the costumer service in the Terminal, see if I have any chance of making my connection in St. Louis.
It is then occurred to me that since it was so late and the bus was still not around, it would be quite a miracle to get to my connection in St. Louis. And if by chance I would make the connection, I will not be able to even take a look at the Arch. The lady at costumer service confirmed my suspicions. However, after I finally understood her accent, I found out that the ultimate bus I planned to board in Kansas City is actually originating here, in Chicago. This way St. Louis was scarped from the plan, as it should have if I were thinking straight in the first place, and in an hour more I've boarded the bus that will take me all the way to Denver in about 20 hours, no changes (sounds like a lot, but it was actually really ok). So instead of St. Louis, I found myself in De-Moines, Iowa. This only proves you that sometimes this could actually be a positive thing, since now it is 9am the following day, I've slept fine on the bus and we've just crossed the state line into Colorado.
I'm back on schedule, the snow had gone, the sun is up and the world is smiling. And I'm rolling on.
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