Monday, July 3, 2017
HOW I BECAME THE LUCKIEST PERSON IN THE WORLD
It was raining messily and the day had already lost the will to live even at 1 pm. I was driving south, and rounded a bend and started down the hill when I saw the diesel spill. I slowed, but hit it and fish tailed several times before I spun out and to the left. The car jumped the ditch and leaped through the fence, and landed in the soggy field, facing the wrong way. The engine was still on. The music was still playing. I turned it all off and got out.
A group of people had gathered, including the truckie whom I would have hit if I had veered right instead of left. So I stood in the field in the rain, and spread my arms wide, and declaimed, 'I am the luckiest person In The Whole World!!'
A woman came towards me, tears on her face. 'I want to give you a hug!' she cried. We hugged. And they gave me a lift to Springs Junction, a glorified truck stop, where there was cell coverage, and I talked to the tow company, and they went to get the car and got the tow truck stuck in the field and had to be towed out, and they put the car up on the hoist and declared it fit to drive. So I drove home just before they closed the pass because of snow.
My car is a deliberately ordinary Toyota Corolla. It is an ex rental with high mileage and few extras. I love it. It just goes. It is called Fenriz. Fenriz is the giant wolf in Norse mythology. He is the son of the god Loki and a giantess, and he grew so big all the gods feared him. In the end he was tricked by them, and he was chained up until Ragnarok and the end of the world. My car is only indirectly named after the wolf, though. Mostly it is named after Fenriz the drummer for the Norwegian Black Metal band Darkthrone. This is Fenriz. He was accidentally elected to his local town council, partly on the strength of the photo below. He doesn't look like much, but he is a legend in the metal world. Fenriz has contributed more to the BM world than just about anyone. He is a complete metal geek who is so badass he writes his t's as little upside down crosses. I liked how my ordinary little Corolla just does the shit, like its namesake.
Fenriz the car has its name in runes tucked into the console on a piece of cardboard. Here they are above. The runes say FENRIZ. I put them there when I began to need the car more for driving between all my various work places. I did not exactly think they would bring the car good luck, but they showed my care for the car. During the accident, the runes stayed in place, when everything else flew around the car like paper in a wind storm.
Did the runes keep me safe? Did they mitigate the accident? Why didn't they stop the accident occurring? Did they do anything at all? Am I in fact the luckiest person in the world, because I survived almost uninjured and could drive away? Or am I unlucky because I had the accident in the first place? What is luck anyway?
The Norse had a concept called orlog, which is destiny, but not necessarily in a fatalistic sense. We can accept or fight our orlog, but it will run through us anyway. In old English it is called a geas, and I suppose it links to karma or the idea of spiritual consequence. I doubt that the accident was predestined. Luck is something that happens retrospectively; it is recognizing patterns after events. We can only say that things come in threes, for example, after the third thing has happened. And it is subjective, of course, I could have seen myself as unlucky and that may even have been more realistic, but instead I was jubilant about being alive. You can't make your own luck, you can only see events through the chosen filters of the past.
The day after, the adrenalin wore off. Poor Fenriz was dented all over and had lost a wing mirror. I was broke and facing the expensive car repairs. I no longer felt so lucky. But Fenriz keeps on cheerfully going, and so do I.