The nature of luck

5 Jul

I thought that was an apt title, because the German word for ‘happiness’, ‘glücklich’, includes the word for ‘fortune’ and ‘luck’, which makes you wonder about the nature of luck and happiness, and whether they are both fleeting and perhaps bestowed upon us when some cosmic balance works out in our favour.

Yesterday was the start of our first proper week in the new house. Our new freezer was delivered at 8am (my new letting agent is awesome!), and I spent about 20 minutes being extremely pleased with my good fortune: the move couldn’t have gone better – I wasn’t even tired afterwards thanks to amazing helpers, the new letting agent organised someone to sort out the garden, install a shower screen, remove the washing machine (I was out at this point, so my own washing machine was connected for me!), fix the shower, and they ordered a brand new freezer which was delivered in time for us to get to nursery.

But then! The buses struck! For one day only the local bus company decided to divert the buses due to roadworks, and sheer chaos ensued. It hadn’t been announced anywhere – the first anyone knew about it was when a bus driver going in the opposite direction from nursery invited everyone he could see waiting onto his bus in order to take us into the town centre so we could catch a bus from there.

We bumped into another nursery mum who I knew from seeing her in the corridor occasionally, and we introduced ourselves to each other briefly. The whole bus chaos could have been really stressful as we were late and I had to fold the pushchair for the first time on an overcrowded bus while hanging on to an escaping toddler, a heavy bag, two teddies and a book. A nightmare situation. But this other mum, despite having two children with her, helped me lift my pushchair into the storage rack, and then took it off the bus for me at the other end when said toddler decided to run to the back of the bus. It was really amazingly lovely of her. I looked her up on the university website later, and she seems to be a very experienced lecturer with numerous publications under her belt. If I had known any of this on the bus I would have been very intimidated, but for a little while we were equals, both mums on the way to nursery, and she helped another mum who she saw struggling.

As well as being generally nice, I think there is also something feminist about this – no glaring at each other in competition for the pushchair space on the bus, or looking down on someone obviously younger, less experienced and flustered, no blanking the vaguely familiar person in case you might have to talk to them. Instead there was a kind of solidarity.

Although the buses have been a nightmare so far and I thought that I had perhaps used up all my good fortune at once and ruined things by being too happy, this encounter restored my trust that things can be managed, and all will be fine. We have only been here one short, chaotic, unstructured week, but it is as if a huge weight has been lifted.

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