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The revelatory properties of Murphy's Law


May 03, 2016

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    It's graduation time, which means that you — if you are my typical collegiate reader — are likely being inundated with so much graduation advice that you feel like you're drowning in it. The commencement speeches are about to take over your news feed, and well-meaning relatives are giving you books and cards with essential life lessons and tips and guidelines and all manner of advice. 
    Allow me to distract you with a story.
    My boyfriend and I have been dating long-distance for three years, subsisting on Skype calls and once-a-month visits, usually only one weekend at a time. This weekend, he flew out to be my date to the wedding of two Statesboro friends — who, to my great delight, became friends to both of us despite the fact that they have only met Steve in person about four times. My boyfriend flew into the Augusta airport, and his flight came in late. I picked him up at about midnight.
    And as we left the airport, my car did something you don't want your car to do at midnight when you're a long drive from home: A brake line cut out, and my car stopped responding the way it needed to for safe stops. 
    The first thing we did was pull over and call my folks for advice. When their quick fixes did not work, the second thing I did was kick the car several times and call it several bad names, while Steve watched quietly without interrupting and only kind of judging. The third thing we did was try to get a hotel so we could drive to a shop the next morning. No dice: Expecting nothing to go wrong, I'd brought my dog along because he enjoys long car rides, and no one allowed pets.
    So the fourth thing we did was the incredibly unsafe option of flicking on my flashers and crawling home at 35 mph. We got in at 3 a.m.
    We managed to limp into a shop on Saturday morning, but the repair was going to take a good while and they couldn't start until Monday. We were up the creek without a ride to the wedding until I got in touch with another mutual friend, who kindly let us bum a ride to and from Metter with him. 
    Out of the kindness of their hearts, my neighbors offered to let me borrow their car so I could drive Steve to the airport on Sunday. We were walking out the door when the airline called: Thanks to weather (which cleared up half an hour later), all flights out of Augusta had been cancelled, and he would have to leave Monday — when we couldn't borrow a car because people needed to go to work. 
    We actually started laughing in complete disbelief that we could have such a consistent run of terrible luck. We bit the bullet and booked a rental car, and he drove to the airport alone. 
    Here's the thing: After I kicked the hell out of my car and accomplished nothing by throwing a fit (that was, admittedly, kind of cathartic), we a.) made a bad situation work, and b.) had a surprisingly good time doing it. We had a blast riding to the wedding with my friend, and the wedding itself was wonderful and full of good company. I have been here for two years, but I make connections slowly; this time last year, I could not have leaned on those around me as much as I was able to this past weekend, because I simply didn't have people to lean on. It took a weekend packed with Murphy's Law to see how far my new friendships have come. 
    Now is the part where I sneak in that graduation advice: After college, you will likely move to a new place with people you don't know. And you likely won't stay there for 10, or even 5, years. It doesn't matter. Jump in. With both feet. 
    Build relationships without regard to the roots you will have to tear up. Waste no time identifying people you enjoy spending time with. Life is so much more fun when experienced with those you love. Find those new people — make those new friends — and love them hard, even if you don't get to love them for long. Repeat in every major life change until you die.
    And if you decide to date anybody seriously, make sure they're the kind of person you can still have a ton of fun with when everything else seems to be going wrong. Steve, you're the best.


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