Fate is a concept widely endorsed that teaches us to believe what happens to us has happened for a reason; usually through a series of unforeseen and unpredictable coincidences. People believe the events in our lives teach us something - i.e. 'if it isn't a blessing, it's a lesson' - but they can be quite shocking and stressful in the moment. As some of my regular readers will know, I've recently been recommended for an apprenticeship, which was amazingly unexpected and a great stroke of luck! But what some of you may not know is that I've also had a few coincidental not-so-nice things happen to me (or occur around me), which have made me question whether I'm generally lucky or unlucky, or whether the world balances the bad things out with the good as a sort of karmic recompense. I'm going to share them with you to make myself feel a little better. How selfish of me.
The first notable bad thing which happened directly to me was the electrical fire in my home, that occurred supposedly for no reason. I'd just come back from my boyfriend's house after a spur of the moment decision to go home and do some editing of my history coursework. I was sat at the computer when suddenly there was a bang and a flash of white as the monitor blew. I was understandably quite startled by this, especially as the fire alarm started to go off. The first thing I did was call upstairs and ask whether my sister was okay, as I wasn't sure at first what had caused the bang. I told her about the monitor and she came down to assist me, which is when we saw a flickering orange light and smoke coming from the tower. After a few fairly unnerving crackly noises, I began to panic that it was about to explode. In a frenzy I grabbed my phone and called my dad, asking him what to do, as my first instinct was to get my sister out of the house. He said, if it was safe, to turn the mains off and call the fire service while he would drive home from work. I did so (banging my head and breaking the cupboard door off in the process) and then got outside with my sister and called 999 from the back garden. Their response time was amazing and I really can't thank them enough for that. It was so surreal, having firemen taking my name and address. When they went into the living room with masks on, requesting another engine, I had visions of me never being allowed to use a computer again, but before too long they had obviously done what needed to be done and the computer was kicked out, burnt, into the front garden. It was raining at the time and my sister was too upset to watch so a friendly neighbour took us in for tea while we waited for our dad and his partner to arrive. When they did, my dad was almost in tears to see we were safe and I could tell that the computer wasn't going to be an issue at all. Soon enough we were allowed back in to see the damage. The cable to the computer was absolutely fried! There was a bit of black char on the wall, and a burn mark on the desk where the fire had almost gone through the wood. The firemen all commended me and said if I had waited a couple more minutes then the sofa would have caught fire and, most likely, we would have lost the entire front room. The stress of it all didn't really catch up with me until I was settled in at my dad's partner's house (the smell of burnt plastic at ours eventually got the better of us and we were told we couldn't use the electrics there until they had been properly tested) and I started to think about what could have happened. Since the cable was probably faulty and could have caught at any time, what would have happened if I hadn't have come back from my boyfriend's house so early? Would my sister have been okay on her own? It was probably the first time I've had a real panic attack. I just remember wanting to cry and not being able to. But everyone was lovely, okay, and alive, which is all that really matters.
Today, I had an equally bad experience. I had been out for tea with my friend Steve and had just boarded a bus home when a couple of guys came on and assaulted a couple of passengers on the back of the bus. It got fairly brutal, and although I didn't turn around to see (who wants to see someone getting beaten up?) I heard someone exclaim that they had knives. Obviously, what was going on was personal between those two groups of people as they seemed to know each other but I won't go into too much detail as the police will probably be contacting me soon for a witness statement. My point is that it was a horrible thing to witness, and an even worse feeling to not be able to help! I convinced myself that all 5'0 of me wouldn't be able to do anything, so I didn't get involved. Luckily though the victims of the assault seemed to be moderately okay by the time we got to my stop. I still feel shit about my decision not to act, though, which is mainly why I'm writing. Could I have done something more than just put myself down as a witness?
Pick-me-up suggestions welcome!