it is funny sometimes how you can have a thought at one moment that only has genuine relevance in a past sense. But then life circles back around and bites you in the ass with a more current relevance.
That’s exactly what happened to me this morning. Let me explain.
I was out of bed early enough that by the time all kitty chores were done, I had a real choice in where I might go to watch the sunrise.
I went back and forth in my head for a bit and decided on St Pete, looking back over the bay from the north shoreline.
Getting out of bed at 4:30 has its benefits, I guess, and with so much time on my hands, I dawdled a little at home and even had some cereal before I took my coffee on the road with me.
So by the time I was on the interstate and ran a real ETA calculation, it came up with a tighter (but still ok) arrival. I was slightly annoyed at myself and processed the times again in my head, because originally I imagined I would get there in gallons of time.
However I originally figured it out was clearly wrong as all the slop time I thought I had was gone and there was no way I took that long eating a bowl of cereal.
Clearly something was wrong with my original calculations. So much for being smart … not as smart as I thought I was, I guess.
So while I was driving over, I pondered over the whole miscalculation thing and while I admonished myself for being so wasteful, I arrived at the consoling “we are all human” answer. I was still going to make it on time. So, I needed to stop beating myself up.
I did get there just in time and got some neat images that I have attached at the end of the blog. Hope you like them.
Where the whole miscalculation thing came back to haunt me was a point where I moved from the sandy beach onto a little concrete pier. You can see the pier in pic 5 below.
Anyway, as I moved the tripod onto the concrete at the pier, I didn’t check properly that I still had the tripod base fully extended. And a strong gust of wind coming in from the bay, blew it all over and my new camera went crashing to the ground.
Cameras don’t do well in drop tests onto concrete from heights of about 4 feet, so I’m afraid this new A7 is pretty unrepairable. Apart from broken glass, rubber and plastic, the frame itself is cracked and that is a showstopper.
It was one of those moments where you look at your self and realize how stupid you can be at times. I am not an idiot (well, most of the time, anyway) but a dog with a mallet up his ass could have calculated that the base of the tripod wasn’t set right. Not to mention that I was already aware that there was a seriously strong breeze coming in from the bay that minutes earlier had been howling around my ears.
So, while I am upset and disappointed at the fluky nature of what happened and how it was the only time I was actually on concrete, it was completely my own fault. A simple and stupid miscalculation.
As I drove home in annoyance, I recalled other miscalculations of mine in recent times. Most notably there was the broken wrist incident at Ballast Point the day after Christmas. That one smashed up a camera and lens too albeit a not so expensive one. In retrospect the decision to walk across the slimy rocks at low tide in the dark, wasn’t the most solid calculation ever made by mankind.
One small step for mankind, one huge slip for Neville Ronan.
And then for whatever reason, my brain decided that it had had enough of my feeling sorry for myself and how all these decisions seemed to be coming home to roost in damage or injury to me. I recalled many years ago when I lived in Ireland, I was driving in on a two lane highway from Shannon Airport one evening.
I was in a rush and there were two farmers (well they probably weren’t real farmers, but I imagined they were) occupying both lanes and driving at 50 mph without anyone overtaking anyone.
However long it played out, it played out long enough to irritate a younger, more impulsive, Neville.
I was driving a very speedy Fiat 124 spider that had a remarkable acceleration right about that same speed. While these two farmers were parallel, I calculated that the gap between them was wide enough for me to get through, if I did it quick enough.
So I hit the gas and zipped through, leaving them both in my wake.
It was a moment of pure insanity and in today’s rear vision, I shake my head at the pure lunacy that made me even think of doing it.
So, yes, it was a calculation that I got away with but it was nonetheless a genuine miscalculation from a common sense perspective.
We perform calculations and commit miscalculations at surprisingly regular times in our lives. Much of our decision making process involved some kind of calculation as part of arriving at our next step.
In some cases we are right and others we are wrong. And some times when we are wrong, we get away with it.
But getting away with it is not the same as it being a good calculation.
It just means that in that instance, we were lucky.
Sometimes, because we get away with something we don’t even acknowledge the luckiness of the result.
But we should.
Because if we acknowledge the luck, then we admit to a bad decision and we can learn from it. We won’t always have luck on our side.
Each decision we make requires us to process whatever information is available in order to come up with our best step forward. Part of the information we use is always historical to us. Something from our past that was either a success or a fail.
The fails are easy to recall for most of us. They often carry scars into our memories to where they are easily recalled.
But any success that we use in our process should be asked if it was because of something we did correctly or did we just succeed despite ourselves.
I am not the most intelligent person on the planet (that’s my Victoria) but I am no fool. But, you don’t have to be a fool in order to make mistakes in calculating your next move.
And if we assume that we can’t fail just because of how smart we think we are, then we expect lady luck to fill in where our lack of smarts leaves a void.
While there have been times when she has stepped into my life and bailed me out of some stupid scenarios like that drive from Shannon Airport, most of the time she leaves me sink or swim on my own.
And that’s OK, because at the end of the day relying on being lucky is no way to plan out your life.
… just a thought.