Would you change places with me?

Much of our lives is all about the things that happen to us unexpectedly. Today, a friend asked what could be more frustrating ahead of a busy day than to find your car had a flat tire? No need to answer that, as it’s really rhetorical. But, good luck and bad luck often go hand in hand, though not measure for measure.

This evening, I headed out in the freezing temperatures to just do a chore of returning library books. As the branch was closed, I looked for the drop box, opened it and popped in the books. As the draw closed and the books descended, I realised that, without thinking, the hand with the books was also the hand in which I had my car keys. As I looked around the empty car park, I wondered what little stroke of luck had stopped my keys also falling into the book drop. Had that happened, wouldn’t the night have turned out differently.

We often try to steer events by action, but a lot happens without us taking any active part. Accidents happen as much from what others do. My elder daughter–spending her working days trying to fight against distracted driving–will attest to that, after being broadsided at a traffic junction by another driver who did not respect the right of way. My child’s car–a mere two weeks old–was totaled, but my child was still in used but very good condition. Her shaking voice on the telephone a little before midnight was like angels singing. Alright, this was badly timed, coming the week before Thanksgiving. But the fact that she could rent a car paid for by the insurance company meant that she could take part in the various events over that holiday that she had already on her schedule plus those that came up. By the end of the holiday, she had bought a new car–what fun we had doing that. But, by her now having two cars, we were better able to deal with the schlepping of family back to the airport after the holiday. Lucky coincidence.

As some of you reading this will know, I am lucky to have all 10 of my fingers, after a freak accident left me with a deep cut in my fourth finger, just by a joint, that required a lot of stitches. What would it have taken for that cut to have gone just a little deeper and wider and for my finger to have been staring at me from the floor? Had it been my little finger involved, then for sure it would be half its length. Had it been closer to the finger tip that would easily have been lopped.

When I ran to avoid getting soaked then slipped on the ramp for disabled persons that leads into church one wet Sunday, what was it that saved my fall from being a calamity? My head could easily have crashed into the steel rail as my body went totally out of control. I could easily have broken an arm or a leg. My glasses had flown off and landed in the bushes, but in the seconds that saw me try unpowered flight I had no idea what I was doing, until I landed with a thud and numbness in a leg.

The image at the top of this post was taken on December 3. As I drove by, I thought about what had taken me to this area in Friendship Heights that I usually do not visit during the week. I was glad that I was driving by not the driver whose car was apparently in the hole, having been parked before the road just caved in.

In our lives to date, we can recollect incidents that have happened which have really put us a whisker away from a real disaster, but did not end that way. Yet, for others, no such luck, and maybe for us, too, the luck will not always be there.

Be thankful for small and large blessings.


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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One Response to Would you change places with me?

  1. ac says:

    to think there is more to come. Afterall life does have it’s pitfalls. Maybe it is time to move back to Barbados.

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