I have a mild persecution complex. Murphy’s Law figures prominently in my personal mythology. When bad things happen, “it figures” — because that’s just what happens when “God” is out to get you, right?
Rationally, I know this is all bollocks. Emotionally, the evidence feels overwhelming.
A subcategory of the persecution complex is that I feel like I can’t get away with anything. I seem to be unusually ill-suited to criminality, or even the most trivial misdemeanours or rule bending. I even get “caught” doing things that are merely odd …
I recently returned from a writing retreat on Bowen Island, staying in the Union Steamship Company’s “Loft” suite, their newest, a cozy little two-level suite with an upstairs bedroom with a low, peaked ceiling, skylights, and a big-ass TV across from a king-sized bed. Nice. I knew right away that the loft would be my spot to write. I have a new laptop that I could connect to that big TV (the first Mac with an HDMI output, as it happens). To make this awesomeness happen, all I had to do was drag a table up from downstairs and plonk it in front of the TV.
This was a bit of a procedure. The table was not too heavy, but it was quite awkward. About half way up the stairs with it, it occurred to me that Murphy was probably licking it lips with anticipation. I got the table up to the loft okay, but I probably came perilously close to:
- dinting a freshly painted wall
- smashing a window
- falling down the stairs with a table
And of course I still had to get it down again.
While not specifically forbidden, the management would probably strongly frown upon my redecorating. I can imagine a little laminated warning sign on the table:
Please do not carry this table up the stairs to the loft.
Quite reasonable, really! And so I started to worry about getting “caught.”
Day 2: a knock on the door. It was the management. I have stayed here many times (in another suite). The management has never disturbed me before. Ever. Not once. Now someone is — apologetically — asking to come in?
“I need to get a chair out of storage in your suite,” she says.
Of course you do, I think. Of course.
At first it seemed like she was not going to notice the missing table. She did not look around — she just went straight for the chair in a storage area almost by the door. But as she was on the way out the door, this is the last thing she said, turning back, chatting:
“These neat folding chairs are just like the ones you have at your kitchen table …”
She pointed at the empty space where my table used to be.
“Right, um … there … there’s usually a table right there …”
“Oh, I moved that table upstairs to work on,” I said, as nonchalantly as possible. Change the subject, I thought. “It’s really nice up there,” I said. “I’m spending most of my stay in the loft.”
And then we made small talk about the cozyness of the loft, and that was that. And I didn’t hear anything about it again.
But sheeeeesh. One of the best examples of not being able to get away with anything, ever. Not only was it improbable that I would get a visit in the first place, but the way she actually came in with a specific reason to point at the table … good grief.
(I got it down again no problem. Getting it down was actually much easier.)