An Inkblot Test

Last weekend, I helped a friend move. Driving back more than 100 miles late at night, two things happened, or not quite happened.

First, a doe crossed the road right in front of my car. Since I was alert and this occurred in a town with the usual 35 mph speed limit, I had time to stop safely. The deer jaywalked calmly, like a little old lady on her way to the small-town grocery store.

Also during that trip, the car developed a definite rattle. It got worse, turning into a shake, a weird vibration, especially at certain speeds. I wondered about a tire out of balance. They’re good steel belted radials with plenty of tread left. The car pulled to one side. Maybe the alignment was off from all the road construction, pot holes, and railroad tracks I’ve crossed recently. The shake got worse, but I also got closer and closer to home. I stopped once, looking for a flat, but nothing wrong that I could see. I reached home.

The next morning, I started out to work, and the shake was bad. With the window down, a tire sounded uneven. No flats, nothing visible on the little bit of each tire actually in sight. The plan was work, then garage. Instead of turning right onto the ramp, though, I turned left and stopped at a garage. As readers may have guessed, one tire was damaged. The steel belt had broken and formed a knot ready to blow out at any time it was driven. With the wheel off the vehicle, it was easy to see. The mechanic replaced the tire, and I went to work.

Life is very much how we see things. I almost hit a deer, but didn’t. I almost had a blow out, but didn’t. I had some scares because either event could be deadly. I was a bit late for work one morning. People can assign whatever meaning they choose. Their worldviews will shape how they interpret the same events. In random order, a few that I can thing of are: good luck, helpful divine care, bad karma, random chance, bad luck, enemy action (sabotage and deer-herding), good karma, evil action, and fate/divine plan. There also could be some chain of cause and effect that I don’t see or understand, like a deer migration route through downtown. I’ll keep my opinion to myself, just this once.

Here’s one thing to share, though. The reasons and meaning, if any, for the events are open to interpretation. It seems… straightforward that everyone will decide for themselves, but that not everyone will reach the exact same conclusions or interpretations. Try asking any five people what they think and then and collecting the answers.

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