Every once in a while I like to get a reminder that I'm not actually in control.
Like when lightning strikes my apartment building and breaks my (cable-free) television and internet modem and I remember that Mother Nature is a sassy little fairy. Or when it takes my management company three months to replace my gas line and I eat microwaved potatoes and electric grill pizza long enough to find 10 extra pounds of carbohydrates resting comfortably around my mid-section.
Or when I arrive home after a long day to find an oven in the middle of my living room, because why not?
Or when you realize you're going to be late for class because the bus driver got the bus door stuck on a tree limb.
Perhaps these lessons are less about having no control and more about renting an apartment in a city. If my wife and I had the money to buy our own house we could stop paying someone for something we will never own. Oh, you want half of our monthly income? Sure, we were just going to burn that money anyway. No big deal. Oh, you needed access to our gas lines today, let yourselves in, scared my dog so bad he peed on his own self, and left only sawdust behind? That's fine, because I happen to love the putrid scent of dog urine baking in the afternoon heat. Not heat from the sun. From the heater that turns on and off at some inexplicable interval.
Another lesson learned about renting an apartment in an old building is that your family will grow larger than you intended. After holes have been patched, traps have been set, high-frequency sound makers have been plugged in, you will stop squealing when you see mice. Instead you will name them Larry and Esmeralda and ask them if they're hungry.
While there are many things I can't control about living in this city, I can control what I get out of it. For example, I can't control the fact that parts of the city shut down almost every weekend for various sporting/charity/community events. What I can control is how many free products I walk away with by hitting up the vendor's tables. I can't control how far away a meeting is from my house. I can control how many brownies I eat while I'm there. The silver lining is always the part that's free.