Hope is a Dangerous Thing


In general, you’re going to want to avoid little voices that tell you to do things.

When I came home from work the other day, there was a blue 2009 Camry LE parked in my driveway. While the rational thought is “Oh, someone must be over the house”, my first thought was “Holy shit, how is my car in the driveway when I’m driving it right now?!?” I may have blacked out.

When I came to, my brain presented me with a series of thoughts. “Did I accidentally drive my brother’s car to work?” led to “Did I accidentally drive someone else’s car home?” which took a detour through “Oh my god, I’ve come unstuck in time!” before ending at “Who the hell was in my spot?” All this because a similar car to mine (a popular seller rated highly by Consumer Reports) happened to be in my driveway when I came home.

Until I opened the front door of the house, that other car was driven by Schrodinger’s Cat. All my thoughts—even the crazy ones—were completely valid until I opened the door and found out the culprit.

It was my father’s insurance representative. They were updating my dad’s life insurance policy.

I was surprised at how hard I took it.

Before I walked in the door, there was a glimmer of hope that today would be special. A feeling that something out of the ordinary was afoot. Even if I didn’t find a wormhole on the way home from work, maybe Publisher’s Clearing House had come over to give us a check so big they had to sell their prize van to afford it.

I spent about a minute with this hope dancing in the non-rational portion of my mind. How would I have felt if it had more time to make itself at home? Would I have found the strength to kill it?

If I had gotten to know it better would I have boarded up the doors and protected it from this cold, cynical world? Perhaps I’d learn to take any sliver of evidence I could find and contort it until it fit neatly inside my worldview. I’d invest so much of myself in this hope—this thought—that I would contort myself, making sure I never see anything that might contradict the idea chained up in the back of my brain. Why bother to look for answers when you can just make your own?

Maybe that car was a sign. Maybe I’m supposed to drop everything and go into insurance sales. Wait, maybe that insurance guy was me from the future, giving me a subtle sign of what awaits if I don’t get my life on track. There has to be a reason and that must be it!

Hope is a dangerous thing.

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