Negative serendipity

We all know the concept of serendipity- the happy accident, the coming together of plans and so on in a harmonious way.

Well, I have a talent for the complete opposite. I’d like to coin a phrase for it but the best I can come up with is negative serendipity.

Let me give you a f’r instance. About two years ago I was in a pub in Colchester, having done a tour and had adjourned with colleagues for lunch. I was standing at the bar waiting to give our orders for food and drink and since it was quite busy, I started chatting with the two guys propping up the bar. One of the beers available that day was called Nelson’s Revenge and I mused aloud about whether that was what the sailors got when they drank the brandy that had been used to preserve the body when it was shipped home after Trafalgar. “Mind you,” I said carelessly. “There wasn’t a lot of him to ship back anyway so it was presumably a small barrel.” The guy closest to me gave me a nasty look and I wondered what I’d said. I thought maybe he was a big fan of Nelson and I was being less than respectful.

But then my tray of drinks appeared, and as I turned to go, the guy I had been chatting with also turned, my way this time and I nearly dropped my tray when I saw he had only one eye and only one arm. He’d had his good side showing to me all the time we’d chatted.

I scuttled back to my table, crimson with confusion and shame and told them what had happened.

I mean, what are the chances of that happening? I don’t think it can be calculated. I could give you example after example of my ineptness, my appalling talent for negative serendipity, but you’d think I was making them all up.

Maybe I should just stop talking. I only open my mouth these days to change feet.

8 thoughts on “Negative serendipity

  1. I find this extremely unusual, although I have heard of there being people who simply attract bad luck. Honestly, I refuse to believe in this because I very much fear ending up as one of those. I prefer to think it’s due to certain circumstances or that all sorts of things just unavoidably happen to people and I’m no exception of the rule.

    Anyway, I hope it’s a temporary phenomenon in your life.


    • It’s not so much bad luck as weird circumstances that are just so improbable. Bad luck every one gets; some more than others at times.
      I managed it again yesterday, by turning up to a usual stop on our tour to find the church was being used for a funeral; the first person I spoke to was the son of the deceased!
      It makes for funny stories if nothing else!
      One nice thing though from yesterday; my colleague and I and one of our French leaders were in the very funky shoe shop in Southwold, and the staff saw out name badges but didn’t read them and assumed we were staff for the rock festival being set up a few miles away (Latitude, if you want to google it) I was chuffed because I would never think I looked cool enough to be thought to be part of something like that!!


  2. Don’t you think it’s possible that weird things happen to everyone, but few people really get impressed?

    Having in mind that you are a writer and an artist, it seems plausible to me that you are more sensitive to certain aspects of life and human nature that most people would hardly ever notice.


    • Now you put it like that, it makes sense and is much more comforting to me to think that way. I find I am far too sensitive to things in fact, which is why I find life hard at times.
      I’ve always been good at seeing patterns and identifying recurring themes, so you’re right.
      Big thanks for that; you’re a genius, Shiona!!


  3. Just came upon this string …ran into because I searched “Negative Serendipty” which I thought I had just coined…I digress. My comment relates to my recent string of negative scenarios in the past 36 hours…all of which were bizarre and uncharacteristic for me.

    I agree that negative thoughts can begat negative outcomes but in my situation I feel more like there is a universal push for me to change or re-examine an aspect of my life. It reminds me of when I dated someone and it was probably time to moveandante I couldn’t quite leave, so the universe sends you a wake up call, if that doesn’t get your attention….the next wake up call gets louder and so on until THEY finally break up with you. Which ultimately wides up hurting more than it needed to!

    I also agree with a previous blogger, that if one has a creative mind you tend to be more sensitive to seeing serendipity over coincidence. I know I have an overwhelming desire to make sense out of the direction of my life with a personal philosopy somewhere between “Things happen for a reason” and “You don’ always get what you want you get what you need.”

    So could Negative Serendipty, a string of bizarre, random, seemingly unconnected negative events, actually be a wake up call? Perhaps the more bizarre the stronger the Universal wake up call.

    Just a thought.


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