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.