I had just come back from travelling for over two months, and I walked into an ice cream shop to splurge. They were taking too long to get to my order and I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I put a quarter in the orientalist fortune machine–you know the ones, the kind you see in California with a darkish guy in a turban sitting cross legged? I’m sure he had a name like Ali Baba or Zoltar. I looked at the fortune that it spit out at me. It read:
I laughed. The fortune could not have been more wrong–at least in its timing. I had just returned from a trip I had been thinking of taking for a long time. It was time to buckle down and find a job. I threw it into a pile of junk when I got home.
A few days later, my sister offered to lend me money to go visit her in Vancouver and take a road trip to the Rockies and the Okanagan. She argued that my lack of employment made it the perfect time for me to finally go see her–something I had been promising to do for about 3 years. I accepted her argument and her offer, and started cleaning and packing to go. Going through my piles of junk that had yet to be cleaned out from my last trip less than a week earlier, I came across the fortune. Huh! It turns out I AM “taking a trip I have been thinking of taking for a long time,” I thought. And though traveling is not a risk for me, going to spend time with my sister was very much a risk for both of us–so the fortune was right on. Maybe I would make a valuable contact there…racist entertainment might know a thing or two after all! I pinned it up on the bulletin board and refocused on getting ready for my next adventure.
The trip, it turned out, ended my relationship with my sister. Part way through–though not before I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Rockies–I aborted mission and returned home. The next morning, I sat down at my own desk once again, looked up and saw the forgotten fortune. Ha! I did not make a valuable new contact. Fortunes are unsurprisingly meaningless after all, I thought.
But then I noticed the header and footer in the fortune, written in big bold red letters: YOUR FORTUNE, it said at the top. When I had first seen it, I barely gave the words a thought. I had understood them to mean: my future, my destiny, my fate. Now, I read it as: my luck. Was it my luck to be sitting at my desk not extending a failed risk? The big bold red letters at the bottom of the card were even more provocative: PLAY AGAIN! Play again? I was flat broke. I could not play again if my life depended on it.
The next day, my friends who had bought a trailer in the country in Northern Ontario approximately three years earlier asked if I was available to join them there for a weekend. I had been meaning to go visit them since they had bought it. So off I went on a trip I had been meaning to take for a long time, to play again! Sadly, the only new contacts I made there were with swarms of mosquitos!
Back at my desk, I noticed the fortune on my bulletin board once again…If the main idea is to take a risk and go out of my comfort zone, I realized, I can’t travel. People with my disposition feel more comfortable leaving. Staying home is what takes me out of my comfort zone!
So, I am indeed going to PLAY AGAIN: I am going to be a tourist in my own city, and tell you all about it on a regular basis here at More Than Food. You, dear readers, will be my “valuable new contacts.” I could not have hoped for a better FORTUNE!