Stories

What Are The Odds?

From July 2, 2012

It began yesterday around 1 in the afternoon.

Elba and I were paddleboarding off the coast of New Seabury when the wind picked up. We weren’t able to combat the fearsome gusts out at sea, so we paddled up toward the shore and walked our boards up to the shack. Still, easier said than done. It took about forty-five minutes to get back to the board stand, and we were talking. She asked if I wanted to go with her to Boston tomorrow morning for church. I said we should go to New York sometime and hear Timothy Keller preach. She said why not tonight?

And that was that.

We invited everyone we knew, and not a one of them could make it on such short notice! So around six that evening, we set out from the Cape toward New York, New York. We talked and sang and laughed in the car, with the frequent deep ponderings floating in and out of conversation. While we were en route, Andrew–our friend who was letting us crash for the night–called to let us know he was going out clubbing and asked if we were interested. We said no, but he cn do whatever he wants.

We arrived four hours later, around eleven, and immediately set to searching for a Shake Shack. We walked in and found the first crazy story.

|Rewind about four or five months ago, to me checking my Facebook one day. My brother Luke had posted a picture of a girl with some cool tattoos on my wall, mistakenly thinking one of her tats was a The Chariot reference(it wasn’t). Her tattoos were distinct and memorable, and her face was not even shown in that picture.|

Elba and I sat down to eat our DELICIOUS burgers and shakes, and a few bites in, I notice something. I see a girl with the same camera tattoo as the photograph! I peek again and the other tattoos matched too! I was stunned. I asked her if I could take a picture with her because I thought her tattoos were awesome, and she happily obliged! Luke double checked for me, and it definitely is the same girl. What are the odds??

We then went to Rockefeller Plaza to try to meet the cast of SNL, but when we arrived, it was empty. We asked two security guards where everyone is, and they laughed and told us that, just like any television show, SNL has season breaks in the summer. Bummer.

We then turned toward Andrew’s apartment on the Lower East side. On the way, he called Elba and was incredibly intoxicated. She tried to get specific directions to his apartment, but he was faded. A few minutes later, she got a call from his roommate Kevin who was less drunk, and very coherent. He eagerly gave us directions to his corner and said to look for a tall Asian guy in a wife beater when we got there. We waited and he came walking to us with a smile. He took us to their basement apartment, which was spacious for a spot on Manhattan. He showed us the room where Andrew was passed out and we entered. There, lying facedown on the bed with his lower half hanging off the edge, was our high school friend. He was wearing nothing but boxers and tall argyle socks and was out colder than ice cream.

Kevin and Elba tried smacking him and yelling, but he did not move. We began setting up a place to lay down in the living room when Andrew came to the door, shouted “HEYYY!” and his socks slipped on the hardwood floor and he dropped to the ground, his head bouncing on the wood. He lay there, flopped on the ground and began moaning. Expletives erupted from Kevin and Andrew over the next half hour while we tried to get Andrew back in bed, but he simply refused. He made a few valiant efforts to walk to the bathroom, but each attempt resulted in his flaccid body on the floor after bouncing off the door frames and walls respectively. Kevin and I thrice carried him back into his bed, but thrice he rose to flop around some more. My favorite phrases of his were along the lines of: “I went to the coolest hospital club tonight….What are you guys doing here in Virginia?…..and, What’s the difference between me and my couch?”

It was crazy.

We woke up and slipped out early the next morning, heading toward the Upper West Side to hear Tim. We got Starbucks and went to Redeemer. Because food and drinks are not allowed in the worship center, we sat outside to finish our bagels and drinks. As we were sitting there, who should cross the street but Timothy Keller himself! I jumped up and rushed to shake his hand. I asked if I could take a picture with him, but he said, “not right now, I need to get to the basement.” I told him he was my favorite preacher, and he asked if I was from out of town. I said yes, and he said he was glad I was here, but he had no time. I have realised; many people can say they mat Tim Keller. Fewer can say they were rejected by him, and I now proudly occupy the latter group. What are the odds??

After the service, we piled into a full escalator to the fifth floor to enjoy refreshments and meet people. The elevator ride was full of mishaps and it took twice as long to get to the fifth floor as the time we spent ON the fifth floor! We took the stairs down.

I needed to get new flip flops because the ones I had had broken three times already, on the spot between the big and second toe, and I superglued them together. We went to American Apparel because I ran into a lady wearing the exact pair I had on (Only newer looking), and she told me where she bought them. I purchased the sandals and took two steps from the register toward the door and the strap broke for the final time. It held up for about four hours of walking in NYC until the very moment I had replacements! What are the odds??

We ate Thai food with two of Elba’s friends (three plates of Pad se Eew!) and walked back to the car. She and I bid farewell to her sisters, and headed back for the Cape. Not a single refill on gas, or stop for anything! Elba fell asleep, then she wrote as I dictated a poem, and then I taught her some Bible. It was a great trip, and I had a superb co-pilot. She was a joyful bundle of non-stop energy who says yes more than no.

The day closed with some night swimming at TD’s dock and dinner with the Smiths. The Cape is enduringly kind to its long, lost son. God is good, and travel reveals that to me more than nearly anything else. Jacob encountered the Lord on the road and more often than not, so do I.

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