This morning, I missed the streetcar by 10 seconds. It lumbered across the street in front of me, a red and white box crammed full of people on their way to work. I waited in the cold, shivering, the snow blowing in gusts around me, hair whipping left and right. Into my eyes, making them water.
Ten minutes later, I missed the subway by another 10 seconds.
Bing. Bing. Bing. Familiar chimes signaling the closing of the doors. I pictured hordes of people rushing through them, stuffing themselves uncomfortably next to each other, sardines in a can. I heard the low rumble of the subway powering away, mixing with the clattering of my heels into a dissonant urban melody.
That missed 20 seconds added 20 minutes to my journey. Twenty minutes spent in the waiting room of life, twiddling my thumbs.
In one of my favorite movies of all time, Run Lola Run, Lola plays the game of fate and timing. She's running, running, running, in 3 different scenarios to save her boyfriend from certain trauma. Ten seconds is the difference between disaster and redemption, drama and salvation. Ten seconds is the difference between the death of her father, and a $100,000 jackpot at the casino.
In Rouge, the third part of the Three Colors Trilogy, Irene Jacob is steps behind her soul mate. She literally misses him by seconds. He enters a coffee shop as she exits, she crosses the street as he stops to pet a dog. You get the idea. Ultimately, fate, chance, and destiny conspire to have them meet, albeit catastrophically.
All of which makes me wonder, are some events fated? Would life be different if I was just a little bit earlier or later than usual? Or are things exactly how they should be? What else am I missing in life by 20 seconds?