The 30th of June.
That makes it sixteen days since I last wrote. There’s a negative momentum of sorts that develops, though on second thoughts a better way to describe ‘negative momentum’ would perhaps be inertia, and that hits the nail right on the head. Once you hit a rough patch, it’s often difficult to pull the wheel straight again.
There seems to be a certain lack of self-awareness when it comes to how I spend my days. Trying to recollect the wheres and whats and whys of the past two and a bit weeks, I’m coming up short.
Which makes this idea of lost opportunities even more strange, and it’s probably why I want to pitch it to you.
There’s a certain sense that overcomes me most evenings, a fear of missing out. That when my back is turned, when I am absent, that is when the best things happen. The space where the best conversations are had, the best friends are made, the deepest love forged. As a consequence, I don’t turn my back. I throw myself, front-facing and expectant. Night after night, into the same place, habit, routine, drinks, and wait and wait for those best things. And of course, they never come. Instead, as each evening comes to a close, and as my eyes droop within my head upon the pillow, there is the same thought, fleeting but regretful. If there were opportunities there, then I did not see them.
The unintended consequence of looking for those opportunities in the wrong place means that I’m probably missing out elsewhere. That’s how I lose sixteen days at a time, seemingly without taking a breath. I’m wasting my chances by trying to find them.
There was an analogy offered to me; it was offered sincerely by her, though perhaps not for the first time. It was too well polished, too rehearsed. And too perfect. There is a concept known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy’. I’m sitting in front of a pokie machine, entranced by the flashing lights, the music, the offer of something better. It’s never explicitly said, merely a suggestion of an intangible win, but it’s enough. I’ve pulled the arm/pressed the button/touched the screen/followed the routine (that same place, habit, drinks, wait) so many times now, and each time there is the same thought. Those best things never come. Which means, surely, maybe, definitely, when I push the button this time, the the odds are in my favour. Having missed out so many times, this time I will win.
And therein lies the fallacy. We forget that each event is independent of the one before. Each push of the button is a new event with its own measure of probability. Lack of success yesterday does not predict success today.
The outcomes are random.