Sunday, 30 May 2010

How's Your Luck

Recently while dining with friends one of them asked how long we have been together, Jenny and I. Fourteen years was the answer. As is my way, waiting to make sure everyone had just filled their mouths with food I came back with “Funny, I don't remember breaking two mirrors!” Food was spluttered, drinks taken...oh how three out of the four of us laughed.

It has got me thinking though. I mean, over the past fourteen years I have had some terrible luck, all sorts of health problems, accidents and trauma. Not all down to bad luck of course but often my first thought has been, “Why me”. Any good fortune coming my way (such as meeting Jenny in the first place) has come as such a surprise, it's always taken a while for me to accept it, waiting for the punch line.

Thinking back, the bad does seem to outweigh the good. For instance every motorcycle I have owned during that period without exception, has been involved in an accident. Honestly, none were my fault! There have been high speed blow-outs, patches of spilled diesel, black name it. I've loved all of my motorcycles but it got to the point that I knew with certainty how each of them would end up, I just had to wait for it to happen and hope it didn't hurt too much. I've been catapulted through the air so often and so far, the local ambulance service started thinking about giving air miles! Why meeeeeeeeeee......splat!

My beloved Triumph Daytona was the last, murdered by a careless driver pulling out of a side road straight into me. He tried to escape, was chased down by an off duty policeman and subsequently prosecuted. “I didn't see him” was his defence. Erm..that'll be the bloke on the huge bright yellow, silver and black bike wearing the matching florescent yellow jacket travelling at 19 miles per hour that you didn't see? He got banned but that was small consolation to me, my resulting injuries put paid to my passion for biking for good.

I remember once having a grand day out windsurfing. Windy day, sun shining, great to be alive, going flat out on a broad reach, thinking about a carve gybe...............BANG!....why meeeeeeeeeee....splash! More air miles. I had hit a semi-submerged floating wooden obstacle, part of an old jetty or something. We are talking thousands of square miles of sea here but it had to float into that exact place at that exact time. That's got to be bad luck hasn't it?

Now to my most recent bit of bad news. My large framed pencil drawing, 'A Shadow Falls', sold to a customer in Ireland has arrived smashed and damaged. Maybe that's not bad luck. Just carelessness, incompetence, whatever. The problem is you start seeing yourself as an unlucky person, even though it probably isn't the case, you tend to forget about the good fortune you've had. A negative attitude breeds, cynicism thrives and it infects those around you too. So if you make your own luck as some people say, yours is likely to appear to be all bad.

Well not any more! Perhaps I did break two mirrors (for those non-superstitious people who don't know what I'm on about, you get seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror)

An incident has just occurred which has served to stop me tumbling into a downward spiral of depression. I'm treating it as an omen of good fortune. I was walking with my dog along the beach. It was sunny and I was lost in my thoughts until a fast moving shadow caught my attention. I looked up just in time to see a large herring gull drop something onto the beach a few yards ahead and then fly off screaming as only a herring gull can. As we approached it the object began moving and squirming. With surprise I realised it was a snake. Beautifully dark with the distinctive diamond shaped markings along it's length, it was the largest adder I have ever seen. I've been looking for them on the heath and in the dunes since Spring began but so far not seen any, then one drops from the sky right in front of me! Now that's lucky (although perhaps not for the herring gull which more than likely died soon afterwards)

Worried about how it would survive so close to the water I decided to ignore the prime directive and picked up the adder with my handy tennis ball launcher (never leave home without one). Once it had coiled around it a bit and seemed safe (I didn't want to be too close to the sharp end of this big boy, although his venom may well have been used up on the sea gull), I jogged up the beach and released it in the dunes at the top.

As it slithered away towards the heath I began to realise what an unusual occurrence this was. Miles and miles of shingle beach, not another soul about and I'd been walking a while too. Yet the bird had found the snake and dropped it at that precise moment and at the exact spot where I happened to be. Now imagine if this had happened to somebody several centuries ago when times were more spiritual, how much might have been read into it. Perhaps it really is a portent, I'm certainly interpreting it as a good one (because I love snakes, I'm always looking for them and because I haven't been lucky enough to see any this year, one was delivered to me by a gull)

So, a turning point. My fourteen years is over now. I've served my time and now I am going to use this episode as a springboard for adopting a fresh, new, positive attitude. It's going to be all good luck from now on, anything that doesn't work out will be for a reason. Knowledge will be gained, positives will be found, negatives will be put to the back of my mind and I'll move on wiser and stronger for the experience.


Pat said...

Luck depends on how you view it - that much is right. I think you were incredibly lucky with your bikes and the accidents. You survived. Just recently one of my friends did not.
I wish you luck in looking at the glass as half full now... life will be more fun that way :)

mooaany said...

Those spells of bad times are quite often a reminder for us to look for the good, or tell ourselves that something good must surely be coming!

As soon as our focus changes, something unbelievably cathartic raises it's head and peeps at us. I do think one has to be ready to see it! That is the beauty of living through something terribly bad!

I love your stories Peter, and your art!

Angela Samson said...

Hi Peter,
Absolutely love the stories. As I live in your area, I'm not so sure what my reaction would have been to the fying adder? run comes to mind,lol. I really love your artwork and enjoy visiting your blog and wesite. All best wishes for the future!

Scott Hazelwood said...

Great story Pete. You do have to be seriously lucky to even spot an Adder...... but one that came crashing to the ground via a gull?? lol. That will NEVER happen again, surely?