Sometimes, the universe conspires to send a message, and we, poor humans, can only hope we are aware enough to hear it.
My message came in a can, or, more specifically, a can of eggnog.
I was doing laundry at my favorite local laundromat—you know, the one that’s well-lit and doesn’t have too many aggressive creepers loitering, trying to strike up conversations. After starting the washer, however, I realized I was out of dryer sheets. Rather than purchase them from the vending machine (convenient but expensive) I decided to duck into the bodega next door.
It was there in the dusty, dim aisles of dry-goods stacked to heights only dreamed about in ancient Babylon that I found it: 32 fluid ounces of miraculous goodness in a can; the spirit of Christmas, hermetically-sealed and ultra-pasteurized for my safety and convenience. Egg Nog in October!! It was a miracle of Dickensian-magnitude sitting quietly on a shelf in a small Brooklyn market.
I did what any modern person attuned to the subtle melody of the miraculous would do in such a situation: I took a picture with my iPhone and Twittered about it. Then, I texted my husband Sean about it, for he loves Egg Nog as much as I.
“Did you buy it?” he asked, admiring the image of deliciously tempting noggy-goodness I had sent along with the text.
“No,” I said, “I just got dryer sheets.”
His lack of response could only be interpreted as disappointment, although I later found out he was actually talking on the phone and unable to respond, but still, I imagine he was disappointed.
I didn’t think much more about the event, until a week later, when once again, the universe sent me a message of Egg Nog.
I was walking to the corner, it was afternoon, overcast, windy … not a day for miracles, if all those Charlton Heston movies from the 50s and 60s are to be believed. So I saw this man getting out of his car, his hands loaded with shopping bags, so many bags that his fingers were obscured beneath loops of plastic. I noticed him fumbling with the gate to his building as I passed, and then, as he left my field of vision, I heard it: the crinkle of plastic, the sound of canned goods striking hard cement, and a muttered curse. I knew that sound: it was the sound of someone in need. It was a sound that I have often made myself when I had dropped a poorly-balanced bag of groceries or had inadvertently dropped a vital loop of plastic handle in an attempt to restore vital circulation to my numbed fingers.
I turned without thinking, knelt down and grabbed the fallen item.
It was a 32 oz can of Egg Nog. The exact same kind I had taken a picture of the week before.
Stunned, I said nothing; I simply handed the can back to the man with a neighborly smile. I turned and resumed my walk down the street, but my mind was reeling.
What was the likelihood of me encountering that same miraculous can (or at least the same brand and number of fluid ounces) of Egg Nog twice in such a short amount of time? Add to this the fact that, until a mere week prior to the grocery-dropping incident, I had not even realized there was such a thing as canned Egg Nog that one could buy at a time of year that was not December. It’s a gosh-darned miracle, I tell you, but not an entirely welcome one. It was almost like finding out you were adopted , or that your dad wasn’t your real dad but was instead some postman who had disappeared under mysterious circumstances right after daddy had gotten back from the war.
Because you see: even though I am the blessed recipient of the Vision of Egg Nog in October, doesn’t mean I understand what the whole thing is supposed to mean. That’s the lame thing about visions: even if you have ‘em, if you can’t explain their significance, how on earth are you going to sell your story to The Enquirer?
So I am left with this burden: the mystery of the Vision of Egg Nog in October. For you see, while the universe does send you messages, and while you might be smart enough to notice them, if you can’t turn that vision into some significant, something meaningful and large and important that you can in turn sell to the tabloids and make lots of money from … well … your vision doesn’t mean diddly-squat.
So take that, Egg Nog!! I deny you! I deny your message of … whatever the hell it was supposed to be … because if in your canned wisdom you cannot convey to me Your entire Truth, then what kind of messenger are you?
Fuck you, Egg Nog.