If I had to choose something to believe in, I would probably choose luck. I used to believe in luck, before I started reading too many books. I used to believe that I could manipulate odds in my favour. I carried crystals. I had lucky knickers.
It fitted in quite nicely with my old narrative of synchronicity. Coincidences happened for a reason, and perhaps if I figured out the magic behind them then I could conjure up more of them. And sometimes it worked! Sometimes I was in the right place, at the right time, wearing the right knickers, and whatever I was hoping to happen would happen.
Well, not exactly what I wanted… but something better. Sometimes.
The trouble with this kind of thinking, and not just that it’s a bit daft, is that sometimes these beautiful experiences happened totally at random. I would then try frantically to work out what magical thing I’d been doing just before it happened so that I could do that again and therefore cause the event again. These wonderful events usually involved men, so I would get dumped and heartbrokenly try to remember what song was playing when he turned up at my house that first day, and then play it again until he came back.
Funnily enough, it doesn’t work. I’ve always known it doesn’t work! But where is the hope in that?
I used to read tarot cards – just for friends, at parties. It was generally girls who asked me to do it, and they always wanted to know about their next relationship. That’s my story of how I learned cold and warm and hot reading. I would just tell them what they wanted to hear, whilst pointing at the pretty pictures. I gave them positive advice and it gave them the confidence to believe they had a chance with whoever they wanted. And it would be however it would be: the chances are good that some of my predictions came true.
It all comes down to chance, ultimately, but not everyone understands probability properly. I don’t. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that they don’t understand it. I’m ever so slightly ahead there now, but still. Even I fall victim to charm bracelets.
We don’t understand the likelihood of something happening, so we may overestimate its uniqueness. We forget about cause and effect, or get them arse about face. We ignore the dull moments and cherry-pick the others, and we see patterns where there are none because even though we’re intelligent beings we still need a few shortcuts. And sometimes we see some amazing patterns like fucking kaleidoscopes and we say ‘ah, synchronicity’.
So here’s a few tips. Remember that you’re not owed anything. You’re not ‘due’ – it doesn’t work like that. But don’t worry; you can never jinx yourself because that’s not real either. And clusters of events are absolutely part of random distribution. You might get all of your wishes come true in one week and then live a quiet life forever after. Garnets and clovers will not change your destiny. Never trust girls who claim to be fortune-tellers because they’re probably just liars who are practicing their analysis skills. Random means random; a random playlist will prove this to you. You could spend a lifetime waiting for ‘that’ chance so let’s just be opportunists.
Given a long enough timeline… everything will balance out. But is a human lifetime long enough?
My fortune for you is: A cat in hell’s chance is still a chance.