I arrived in Manchester and started walking to the hotel (OK, it's not the most high-impact introduction to a story you ever read, but give me a break here, I'm typing this on a small chugging train between two very wet parts of the country...it doesn't incite the highest state of literary excitement). On the way, I caught the front of my shoe on a cracked paving slab and stumbled.
In a surprising turn of events, I didn't mutter curses, nor did I grumble my discontent for the next ten minutes while mentally berating the local authority. No, I chuckled. Chuckled, by George. As if that little slip were a trivial thing, a passing thing, a thing that might even be amusing, rather than a bitter sign of the crumbling of post-industrial Britain; the despicable neglect of our civic heritage and the general ouchyness of my toe.
I read an excellent sentiment that ran something along these lines, "just think what major upheavals the minor calamities in your life have saved you from". I like that, it gives a slightly larger perspective and that, I think, is more than half of the battle. And then, having adjusted to a view that things might not be as bad as all that, then what?
I chuckled. These unexpected slips and mistakes happen all the time, but why do they have to be mistakes, when they might be, at least, an opportunity to chuckle? Or better, to create something entirely unexpected, something so novel that we wouldn't have conceived of it with our normal pattern of thinking, and without the jolt.
With hindsight, perhaps we might think to plant seeds in the metaphorical cracks in the pavement but it wouldn't be the most obvious place to think of before the event, would it? But look at that beautiful flower...
I think some more on this theme would be appropriate - it'll be along later...
In the meantime, here's to cracked paving slabs (and not as a means of supporting the accident claims industry).