she had two extra tickets for the Philharmonic’s final production of the season and asked if they would like to attend. Nancy and Gary agreed to go even though Nancy assumed they were the last of five possible candidates to be offered the free tickets. Nevertheless, it was a good decision; the distraction helped reduce the tension they were each feeling. The next day was glorious. Tropical storm Angela was gone. The sun was shining, a breeze was blowing, and the temperature was a delightful seventy-three degrees. Gary wished he could stay in the country the whole day, but he had been invited to attend a reception at which a very dear friend was being honored for life time achievement in her field. At precisely 12:44 Nancy and Gary left for the bus station which was about twenty minutes away. Gary had assured himself and Nancy that the bus left for New York City at 1:30 and he would have plenty of time to buy his ticket, pick up a soda and eat the lunch he had prepared for the trip. They arrived at the bus station at exactly 1:04. Having dropped her husband off, Nancy returned to Carlton. Gary went to the ticket booth and asked for a one-way ticket to New York leaving at 1:30. To his shock and surprise, the clerk told him that there was no bus at 1:30 and that the next bus to New York was at 3:30. She hurriedly mentioned that the 1:05 was just pulling out. He ran as fast as he could and caught the driver’s attention, literally as the bus was backing out of its berth. The driver stopped and allowed Gary to board the 1:05 leaving for New York City. How could he have made such a mistake, he was so meticulous about schedules. And then he thought again, how timing is everything. Had they left ten seconds later or gotten caught in traffic or turned back to get Nancy’s cell phone which she had left on the desk at home and remembered as they were half-way to the bus station, he would have missed the bus and missed the reception. He found a seat, sat down, took a deep breath, exhaled slowly and marveled at this business about timing again. Only seconds had made the difference between life and death in the car on Friday. And now only seconds had made a difference as to whether or not he would be attending his friend’s reception that afternoon. Not life and death of course. He mused that there must be millions of people out there with similar stories about how much timing played a major role in their lives; literally changing the direction in which they thought they were going. He recalled the Zen expression that making plans is like fishing in a dry gulch. Because he was forced to scramble for the bus, Gary had not had time to eat the lunch he had prepared nor was he able to get a soda from the vending machine at the bus station. Nevertheless, now seated and feeling quite confident that he would arrive on time for the reception, he was able to relax. He took the plastic bag containing his turkey and cheese sandwich and a bag of reduced fat potato chips out of his brown Coach messenger bag that Nancy had bought for his birthday several years ago. There would be no
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