I’m not a religious person. I’m about as agnostic as a gal could be. Furthermore, I wouldn’t survive a reasoned debate about world religions because the necessary knowledge for such an undertaking falls into my many “ignorant zones”. However, I do believe in fate. And my own personal experience shows that you shouldn’t tempt fate because it will turn round and bite you in the bum, so to speak.
Last week, I visited a lovely lady who runs a chilli farm in Orgiva. She escorted me and the Terrible Toddler Twosome to her rather attractive outdoor swimming pool and emerged with a brand new double airbed, still in its box. Out came the airbed, out came a pump. We oohed and ahhed and coooed over the airbed. All hail the airbed! Isn’t it great! Isn’t it perfect! My companion swung the airbed into the pool so we could give it the much-anticipated ‘inaugural run’. But – lo and behold - it immediately snagged on a metal rod installed in the side of the pool and deflated. We had to admit: we’d been too smug about the airbed so fate taught us a lesson by deflating the darn thing.
The week beforehand, I went for a meal with the friend described in a previous blog entry: the one who accused me of constantly tempting fate on the road by being negative towards Spanish drivers. We ventured into my favourite local pizzeria where I’ve always been satisfied with the food. My friend started complaining: “I don’t like this restaurant – I reckon I’ll get bad food here.” I ordered Argentinean steak and my companion selected tuna steak. Guess what? My steak was delicious – a juicy, flavoursome treat. My companion’s tuna was, in comparison, fishy and raw. He complained to the chef who said “it’s supposed to come like that” and walked away (customer service Spain: another story). My companion was cross and I was smug about him “tempting fate by being negative about the restaurant”. Talk about turning the tables! Hah hah!
I remember, in the past, having two different road traffic accidents (one, a crash involving a vehicle parked on the hard shoulder and two, a rear-end shunt) while thinking exactly the same thought both times: “I’m enjoying this motorway drive and this music CD is really good”. How can that happen? Answer, because I was (a) being thoroughly smug and (b) thinking about how much I was enjoying the experience rather than keeping my eye on the road. Nowadays, I daren’t allow smug motoring thoughts to enter my consciousness: they must be banished immediately lest there be a third nasty RTA. A rear-end shunt may sound slightly comedic (!) but being towed 300 miles with your vehicle all mashed up, aware that you’ve given an elderly man whiplash and fearing points on your license is serious payback for laughing in the face of fate.
Fate can work the other way too. It laughs and plays with us and gives us positive or negative signs. Once, when I’d lost the buyer for my Brighton flat and was feeling despondent because I was about to lose my house purchase too (a collapsed chain), my cat at the time – Bumble – emerged from under my bed carrying a fiver in her mouth. She dropped the glorious and unusual feline find at my feet. “Aha, much better than a dead mouse,” I thought. A few hours later, my estate agent phoned me. He wanted to bring a prospective new buyer to view my flat, which had not yet been officially relisted as for sale. The buyer immediately offered £5k more than the previous one. I couldn’t help thinking that the cat had brought a sign of divine providence and tempted fate in my favour.
Airy-fairy bollocks? Maybe. But we’ve all had ‘one of those days’ where things go exactly our way and ‘one of those other days’ where everything that can go wrong does go wrong. And, speaking personally, either being too negative about something or daring to be smug - even for a few minutes - almost always causes a disaster in my immediate environment. So, folks, let’s think positively and not blow our own trumpets: it’s not big and it certainly ain’t clever. As the old adage goes, ‘pride goeth before the fall’. It certainly does!