Most families have a few common phrases with which to sprinkle their internal conversations, and our family is no exception. Many of ours come from two main sources: a wonderful old Talking Heads movie called True Stories, and a recording of old Monty Python skits, oddly entitled "Matching Tie and Handkerchief."
I mention that this morning because one of those Monty Python phrases was drumming rather repeatedly in my head as I sat down to write. It's from a routine called "The Cheese Shop," and it goes like this:
"Quite predictable, really; it was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place."
Usually we use the line when we've lapsed into an old pattern that has somehow become funny over the years. But in this case it's a different sort of situation. As of yesterday, we have two daughters and a de-facto son living with us, and we're all busily spiffing up the house for a major event this weekend. So of course we awakened this morning to discover we have no heat and no hot water -- and they can't get here to fix it until tomorrow.
So really this quote is a bit about Murphy's law, which, according to Wikipedia, is "is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.' It is usually meant as a purely sarcastic musing that things always go wrong."
Do any of us in my family really believe that? Oh, probably, but not in a bad way. But it's probably telling that another favorite phrase of my husband's is "expect the best; prepare for the worst." He used to be a mountain climber (though he had already stopped that by the time he met me) and... well, maybe he should have been a boy scout. At any rate, he believes in being prepared for any eventuality, and I suspect his most important way of preparing is to stay light on his feet, flexible, and optimistic. Which makes for a terrific mate, I have to say!
So now two of the kids are over at our neighbors' house (one's at the gym), showering. They've already removed the dead branch from the tree and cleaned out the planters and opened up all the Japanese lanterns. Everyone's in a good mood, we've closed all the windows and opened the blinds so what's left of the sun can warm the house before the expected storm comes. And life in the cool house (we're having a bit of a cold spell, so the outside temp is in the low 40's) will be what it will be. Que Sera Sera, as Doris Day used to say -- or sing!
or as the bumper sticker I once thought of printing was going to say -- "Life's not what it's not -- it is what it is!"
... and it's all good!