Yay. Big Winner.

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Shockingly, we didn't win the lottery this weekend despite my wife's prognostication of forthcoming abundant wealth.  This disappointment came as a sudden jolt as we passed a billboard with the updated jackpot on I-75N.  So much for Christmas, kids!  But, as an elderly lady once said to me, "Sonny, you have to be in it to win it." 

And truly, there is "a" chance of winning the lottery.  Leaving the math to others, the reported likelihood is 1 in 175,711,536.   As so many say, you have better odds of being struck by lightning... (1 in only 5,000!) 

Well, there is no action without a primary cause, and if you don't buy a lottery ticket, then there is no chance of winning it.  Many would argue, and logical minds would agree, that the difference between 0 and 1 is so small that it really isn't worth an "investment" of a dollar.  Still, there is a chance, which can be defined as the mathematical probability of a known outcome.

Instead, "chance" let me cash in on another improbability, 1 in... um, well, I don't know.  I'll explain.

On July 3rd, we were on the way to pick up my daughter for a weekend break from the Georgia Governor's Honors Program (says proud parent...), which requires, seemingly along with the rest of the world, driving south on I-75 towards Florida.  The Georgia D.O.T. has blessed I-75 with their caring attention for years, resulting in very long stretches of road construction, speed zones, swerving lanes, warning pylons, and attending State Patrol officers.  To set the picture, it's three lanes in each direction, and on holiday weekends, five lanes would be appropriate.

And so it was that somewhere south of Cordele, GA (notable only as a fast food oasis), that a fairly new Toyota Highlander zoomed by me in the right lane (per the Georgia Highway Laws manual, that would technically be the "slowest" lane, with faster traffic to the left).   But I digress.  This vehicle then ran afoul of some rude person going the speed limit, cut left to the center lane into a gap of about 1.5 car lengths and zoomed far enough ahead to get around the strange, law-abiding driver that blocked his rightful path.   (Speeding, cutting and crowding, possible reckless driving, but hey, who's counting?)

As fate and The Handbook of Traffic Truisms would have it, I passed him only miles later in one of those inexplicable interstate delays where there is no cause, only effect.  Yes, it was a construction zone, but there was no work being done.  There was no visible evidence to account for the many highway travelers having to slow to 5 mph on the interstate, but so it goes.  Slowly.

One might ask reading forward why it is that I paid attention to this particular jerk driver, when there are so many from which to choose.  I can only say that I left my iPod at home, and I was music-less in this particular FM wasteland.  As such, my thoughts were free to roam wherever they might, and they certainly meander all over the place when I drive.  My wife event asks me what I'm thinking about, to which I answer, "I don't know."  This is a learned mantra from a seasoned driver.  Other alternatives would be "only of you" by the more newly married, "acronyms for the license plates in front of us" by the creative, or "whether I answered an e-mail at work" by the insane.  I'm sure there are other answers, but mine works for all occasions, thank you very much.

So, first observation: bad driver.  Second observation: Same "Toyota" blue as my father-in-law's Forerunner. Third observation:  Distinct peace symbol on the rear door.  Translated in seasoned driver thinking, all three observations are summed as follows: "How did this stupid hippy freak afford such a nice car?"

Fast forward two days, now driving north on I-75, when, surprise!, a blue Toyota Highlander passes me on the right, cuts over to the middle lane, accelerates, then cuts right, successfully getting in front of whoever was holding him from his appointed rounds.  And yes, it had the same peace symbol on the rearYes, thank you, I know it's not a good idea to take a picture while driving. door.  So, what are the odds of seeing the stupid hippy freak twice?

With some consideration, it's not uncommon to see the same cars occasionally during my morning commute and more rarely in the afternoon.  But what are the odds of seeing the same vehicle on an interstate roughly 3.5 hours away from home, two days apart?

For one, it might happen more often that I might surmise.  If I hadn't paid particular attention to the vehicle on the way south, I wouldn't have made any observation on the return trip other than giving myself a larger cushion away from an idiot driver.  And when all these random musings come to their rightful end, if I have one chance in some great number of winning, I'd prefer that Lady Luck had concentrated her energies on the lottery.

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