A dreary commute is set aglow

I resented my two-hour daily commute and could find nothing good to say about it. Ever. And I griped constantly, to anyone who would listen (or pretend to) about my car-bound waste of time. The drudgery. The pointlessness. Until a ball of fire taught me a lesson.

Once upon a midnight, I was driving north after a long, hard shift when the sky turned noontime white. As I gaped, unable to make sense of what I was seeing, a ball of fire flashed across the sky and appeared to fall far into the Pacific Ocean. Crazily, all I could think of was cannon-fire.

But when I looked around at the dark-again night, I was unable to spot anything remotely resembling a cannon.

What had the fiery orb been?

I wanted, in the worst way, to discuss the incredible sight with a fellow viewer, but the road, never heavily trafficked, was empty. The few dwellings lining the highway were dark. As usual for this time and place, I was the only one present.

When I finally reached home, an endless wondering half-hour later, I burst into the house and ran into the bedroom. "I'm sorry to wake you," I gasped to my snoring husband. "But I have to tell someone about this and soon!"

"Huh?" Craig croaked, rubbing his eyes. "A ball of fire?"

And then he grinned, ear to ear. "You saw a meteor! I am so envious!"

The next day, I spoke with a meteor expert. After I described the size of the fireball, the direction it came from and disappeared to, I blurted out how fortunate and grateful I felt.

"Well," the scientist said, after a long silence. "Sometimes you're just in the right place at the perfect time."

And then, I waited. I absolutely knew that seeing that meteor had changed me in some remarkable, profound razzle-dazzle way. At the very least, I'd be able to predict the weather, or maybe suddenly be able to whip together an edible pie. Something impossible in my life would be made possible by the unexpected sight of fire slashing through the black velvet night. But time went by, and those things didn't happen.

There was a change in me, though - a subtle shift deep inside, detectable only to me. Upon awakening, even on a dreary day when I need to do something I don't especially want to do, I feel a tiny prickle of anticipation.

As I discovered, one midnight, when I least expect to be in the right place at the perfect time, something incredible might flash into my life.

This time, I'm watching for it.

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