When dumb luck strikes ...
At a stressed-out moment . . . A self-proclaimed good Samaritan leaned into my space, craned her neck in my direction and said, “This gives you an opportunity to slow down.”
She was talking about the fact I‘d left my wallet at home and would need to drive a half-hour back to get it before continuing on my errands. She said it could be a good thing.
That’s like saying getting sick gives you a chance to get well, or being miserable gives you a chance to get happy, or failing gives you a chance to succeed. I don’t know how many of us would choose that path over a straight shot to fame, glory and eternal salvation.
I wonder what she’d say now that I’ve sprained my wrist and have a brace on my arm. Lucky you! The sprain occurred after a lovely weekend wedding wearing spike heels, dancing on a slippery floor, walking through crowded Washington, D.C., and generally feeling bouncy. Leaving the hotel, after three days of frolic, I tripped over my suitcase. Plain and simple. And dumb. Or lucky? I started thinking of all the other fortuitous things that happened in the past that gave me lots of other fun opportunities to slow down. Great memories like breaking my ankle for no good reason or showing up at an international airport without a passport or my car breaking down, twice, on the Schuylkill Expressway. One fortunate event after another. I started thinking of more ways I could have more screw-ups because maybe these fast-paced times need extra mishaps and blunders giving us more opportunities to break free from the cultural norm of going full-speed ahead without thought or reason or even joy just to keep up and not necessarily even get what we want.
I started expanding outward, not just dwelling on my own little mess of miracles but on the loads of wonderful chances we all have to wind down when forced to spend hours on the phone with rotten customer service agents, sit stranded in traffic detours, manage grocery bags that tear apart on the way to the car, plead with computers that suck documents in the middle of a deadline because, well, just because they can.
Adorable, welcomed strokes of luck to help us enjoy and relax everywhere we turn.
With my wrist looking like a crumbling building with scaffolding, I was having so much good fortune I wanted to take the whole country down the same unexpectedly hopeful road — especially that woman who threw a curse on me. I wanted everyone to have the chance to truly smell the coffee, take long, deep breaths, lounge in the backyard with crumpets, and finally find the time to go through old boxes of scintillating family photos.
Except if you have a slow-down curse and a splint on your arm, you can’t do much with these magical moments but watch the leaves fall from the trees. You can’t even scoop them up. For at least 6 weeks or 6 months, depending. How jealous I’m making you! Decades ago, Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Which I guess means we should applaud every stroke of luck, no matter how annoying, pathetic, fretful or downright moronic.
How slow can you go . . .