Two Tales of Chance on a saturday morning:
Early this morning I exited the Housing Estate where I live, here in East London, and a little way along the pavement I noticed a bunch of keys. I picked them up, but I was unsure of what was the best thing to do with them. So I placed them on the railings nearby and carried on walking.
After a while I've turned into another road and I notice a man walking along with his very energetic young dog leaping up and down alongside him. The dog entertains my attention for the entire length of the road. And then at the end of the road, the man meets with a woman, and just as I'm passing them by I realise that he is saying to her something about "not being able to find them".
Of course I turned and said to him "have you lost some keys?"
Yes he had. And as added confirmation he went on to describe various components that were attached with them, such as a yellow plastic whistle and a bottle opener etc.
I lead him and his frisky little dog all the way back down the road and round the corner to where I'd placed them. And obviously he was very pleased.
But the amazing thing about this is the micro timing of events. If he hadn't met the woman, for instance, then he'd have had nobody to talk out loud to about losing the keys. And the fact that I passed him by just as he was talking about that topic. And the fact that my attention was on him in the first place, because of his dog, rather than me daydreaming as I passed him by and therefore I would have not been listening etc etc. The very fact that this man with his dog turned out to be the person who had lost the keys. The fact that I, in the role of a random passing stranger, actually knew where his keys were. The fact that I'd originated from the other road where he had dropped them in the first place. etc etc
A few hours later I was in North London when I noticed a spindly little spider walking across the busy pavement. I think they're called Harvestmen. You know, the ones with tiny bodies and really long legs that are thin like strands of hair.
Now I'm always in 2 minds with little critters on the pavement. Sometimes I opt to pick them up and place them out of harm's way. But at other times I tend to heed the advice of the sorcerer Don Juan, advice which I absorbed over 25 years ago, but is one of those things that has always really stayed with me. He said, that it is extremely arrogant of us, to presume that we know what is best, for little critters that might or might not get squished on the path.
And so on this occasion I chose not to be arrogant, not to interfere, but instead I stopped a little way further along the pavement, to discreetly observe the spider's journey.
It's a Saturday morning and it's a high street. So there were a lot of people, none of whom seemed aware of the little spindly spider making its way across their slipstream. Yet not one of them stepped on it either.
I have no idea how aware the spider was of the people or the potential danger of being randomly squished.
From my perspective it was like watching someone crossing a motorway blindfolded.
Until eventually the little fella did reach the relative safety of the curb. And then I carried on my way.....