One morning, you might find that you wake up at 4 a.m. to catch a flight, only to discover that the power is out.
If you don't have a flashlight, you won't be sure all your stuff is packed. Your top knot will be, minimally, a struggle. You won't be able to find the superpowered camping lantern that is stored in the top shelf of the darkest closet in your apartment.
Somehow, you'll make it. And you'll open the door to go catch your waiting taxi. But then you'll see the shadow of your cat scamper out into the dark hallway. And as you fumble with a dim iPod and an invisible set of keys, she will utter an occasional meow from some hidden corner of the building, taunting you as punishment for the many times you made her stay inside. When you've found her, you'll toss her unceremoniously back into the apartment and spend the rest of your trip wondering whether she got back out.
But the next twenty minutes will provide a distraction. The universe wants to make sure you get the message about how a missing flashlight can mess with your life. It will bring you a cab driver named Niko, who will spend the whole trip discussing topless beaches with you.
At the airport, distracted by visions of your cat starving outside your apartment door and thoughts of topless beaches bumping around your head, you'll go to the wrong kiosk to print your boarding pass. When you beg an airline employee for help, she already knows what's wrong. Sarcastic smiles. "Well, are you flying with Southwest Airlines?"
This has got to be the end of this series of unfortunate events. So you take a cleansing breath and relax so you can breeze through security. Shoes off in record time. Bags organized in bins. Smiles for all.
But as your bags trundle through, you'll see it on the screen, a dark mass of razor sharp edges, a sheath of knives that someone must have slipped into your bag while you were struggling to find your ticket kiosk. You should have been prepared for those people who like to frame other people for airline security offenses. You will be pulled aside, your luggage searched, because you stupidly decided to pack...a yoga book.
And when you are on the plane, you will finally take it as a good sign that the captain starts the morning with a harmonica and gets the whole plane to clap for him at 6:30 a.m. You are on your way to a land of lakes, puppies, parks, and Swedes.
But more on that later...first, deal with the flashlight.