(originally posted 6/17/2015)
When you hear the expression “Timing is everything” it makes you think of something important. Perhaps even a life-changing experience.
I think you need to relax.
I was sitting in a clogged passageway that ended at a set of three large double-doors leading outside the building with about a hundred other people waiting to see if the rain would ease up enough for us to venture out. We had been waiting for at least twenty minutes as the skies seemed to have an unlimited supply of water to deposit on the city and the crowd was getting antsy.
Then it happened. One person decided to brave the elements, pushed open one of the sets of doors and out he went. What happened next was similar to a wildebeest crossing I saw on a nature documentary. What seems like a million of these dumb animals sit at a river crossing waiting for the first wildebeest to make his move and then they all start to make their way across. Trouble is that the river is too deep and the water moves too fast and it’s littered with crocodiles the size of luxury automobiles and after about the third wildebeest had climbed up the muddy slope on the other side it turns into a giant Slip N Slide N Get Trampled N Drown and soon the river is clogged with dead wildebeest.
It was exactly like that except that there weren’t any crocodiles and nobody drowned. Actually, it wasn’t much like a wildebeest crossing at all except for the fact that everyone got caught up in the surging crowd and whether you wanted to or not you were going out into the rain. I’m sure that given the choice between being eaten by a crocodile the size of a luxury automobile and being pushed out into a light drizzle most wildebeest would roll their eyes at the absurdity of it all and take the latter, but I’m guessing it might have a little more sympathy for my plight had that same wildebeest been wearing an expensive suit.
Anyway, showing the resiliency of a grizzled writer I began my walk to my hotel, but Mother Nature had different plans and decided to crank up rain about seven notches so I was forced to seek refuge under a nearby awning and wait out the downpour.
It was then that timing was everything. I say it that way so you will forever remember that even if timing is everything it doesn’t mean that the event is in any way special.
On the other side of the street was a girl with an umbrella walking along minding her own business. It was then that she came across a stream of water cutting across the sidewalk and making its way to a nearby grate. It was at least two feet across with a depth that was hard to judge. In a very un-wildebeest-like manner she took a few steps back and decided to leap across the watery divide. Obviously she was not consumed mid-leap by a lunging crocodile the size of a luxury automobile because had that have been the case that would have been the very definition of timing being everything and instead she landed on the other side without incident.
Almost without incident actually. Had it been completely without incident there would have been no reason for a grizzled writer to have mentioned it and I don’t think anyone would argue that this story has all the earmarks of being written by a grizzled writer.
In the process of jumping up and then landing her umbrella somehow turned inside out and upside down. While the physics might have eluded me I couldn’t help but notice the end result was that she was holding a large cup over her head and what’s more she was completely oblivious to that fact. Onward she walked without a care in the world and completely unaware that her umbrella was quickly filling up with water. This went on for another fifty or sixty feet when the amount of water hit some sort of critical mass and the umbrella ripped and soaked her.
Until that time, sitting trapped under an awning, I had been wishing I had an umbrella. I had been cursing my decision to go without one into an uncertain world plagued by fickle weather. After watching the aquatic exploits of this unfortunate soul it occurred to me that sometime there is nothing you can do to avoid your fate. If you are meant to get wet you are going to get wet.
Turns out that would have been a much better expression to have started this story with than “Timing is everything.” Anyone reading this is going to shake his or her head and say “While his writing might be grizzled, this writer is all over the place and can’t seem to figure out the point of his own stories.” You might even be an influential person who was thinking about giving me a big break in my career and will now move on and find some other writer to help because of this inexcusable gaffe.
Turns out timing really is everything.