Normally I don’t think about luck that often- not much of one to frequent the casino, and when the grocery store gives me some code to enter on their website to win a zillion points or whatever, I have to admit I often don’t quite make it to the website before I get distracted and start googling, like, how to____or something equally as important. And then I remember a month later and the coupon expires and it all starts all over again.
Missed opportunity, guys.
Ah well. Have to settle for my regular 1000 bonus points I get when I buy two cans of diced tomatoes.
Okay sorry sorry I digress!!
Geez. Riveting stuff, hey?
But I was reading an Alexander McCall Smith book recently, Trains and Lovers, and in one chapter the characters are talking about a moment where a piece of luck changed the course of their life forever. They got off the train at the wrong stop and that mistake led to all these other events and so on and so on, and everything could be traced back to that point.
At first I was like, yah yah that’s what goes in novels. But I got to thinking and realized that I most definitely have a moment like that in my life, and it revolves around the most mundane of things. That is, having to pee.
It was a blazing hot summer day in Montreal in 2006, the kind where you sweat through at least one t-shirt. (This is a very glamourous story already)
At the time, I was the manager of a clothing store by day, and hanging around an improv theatre by night. I had no real ambition to be a comedian, I mostly loitered around because there was a piano in the lobby and they let me play it when I wanted. This eventually led to me playing improv piano in the Fringe Festival for a theatre group.
So, every night of the Fringe Festival at 1am, there’s this party called the 13th hour where all the theatre groups go after performing to hang out, drink, dance and promote their shows. My good friend Kate literally dragged me to go one night. Basically by the hair. Okay no that’s a lie. But guys,
I did not want to go. I had just worked a 12 hour retail shift in stupid wooden platforms and was hot and sticky and all I could think about was going home and flopping in bed. Can’t you hear me whining?
But I went. Kate was moving back to Australia in a few days. I had to go.
So we show up and find ourselves a gin and tonic or whatever and look for some of our friends. We laugh and chat and eventually I get my second wind. Eventually head to the bathroom because cocktails.
I check my hair in the mirror and as I turn and walk out the door, I almost run smack into a tall guy with a slightly annoyed look on his face and a whoa whoa coming out of his mouth as he realizes he’s headed into the girls’ bathroom by mistake.
That tall guy just so happened to be Daniel Rowe, a friend I last saw in Vancouver BC about 5 years before and who I’d originally met at a music festival in Washington.
What the what!
He gave me his card, stopped by my work the next day, and the rest is history. He’s my husband now.
And all cuz we both had to pee at approximately the same time.
Very glamourous, I told you.
Okay so that’s my story - that one urge of my bladder definitely altered the course of my life!
Is it really luck? Divine intervention? We don’t know. My actions and mindset before and after the event certainly had a role in how things turned out. As did Kate! But I was open, I said yes, I had my head up, my eyes open. Could’ve said no. But I’d been hanging around improv people and learned by osmosis that one of the first rules of improv is that you always say Yes.
I find the same thing happens in creative work. I’ll be working in the studio and sometimes two ideas collide, or several materials literally fall next to one another on the table by accident. Something clicks, and the next thing I know I’m on a whole other trajectory that I couldn’t have come up with through a bit of clever planning. It seems to strike out of nowhere. Now that isn’t to discredit the work put in, the hours spent at the studio. That’s all part of it too.
That’s what happened with this piece, for some reason a drawing and a piece of handmade paper and ceramic tiles fell together in my workspace and this is what came of it.
Look at me all saucy and placing a bet!
But all this talk of luck makes me want to hear about your story of happenstance, chance, opportunity.
So, if you’re feeling like a real renegade risk-taker you can go ahead and leave a comment below!
Thanks again for reading to the end and for being part of the Mezari Museletter crew. If you enjoyed this email, why not share it with someone you think would like it too?
Whatever you do or don’t do, have a most excellent Thursday!