When I realized on Tuesday that my next post in the countdown was number 13, I again started thinking about jinxes and luck. 13 is supposed to be an unlucky number. I’m a couple of posts behind because of a busy week with a client. Should I skip post 13 altogether? Older buildings have no floor numbered 13 because the offices or apartments are harder to rent. Is the opposite true, I wonder? Can you charge more for apartment on the lucky 7th floor?
Luck comes in to play when you’re rolling dice, trying to test the odds. FiveThirtyEight published a clickable model of the election this week that pairs their statistical modeling with the satisfaction of putting states firmly in the “end Trump” column to see what a win in one state might suggest in the rest of the country. It’s a step up in complexity from rolling the dice at Trump’s 12 in 100 chance of winning, but it’s still just a roll of the dice. It’s not productive to keep going over the simulation to see how many times Trump hypothetically loses. The thing to do is to work to make the odds better and better for Biden to actually win: sign up for text-banking or phoning voters, or voter protection. Still. I can’t stop looking.
As a walker, I smile when I luck into finding something interesting. But when I’m not walking much, as has been the case lately, I’m not in a position to be lucky. Sometimes I favor routes that are crowded and well-travelled because it’s more likely I’ll run into a friend or learn something about the people I live alongside in D.C. But by walking on busy 14th street, I miss out on learning about nature by walking in Rock Creek Park and miss out on finding free boxes of cast-off goods left in the back alleys by my increasingly wealthy neighbors. I think of the idea that you can put yourself into position to be more likely to find what you’re looking for as serendipity. But is there a difference between serendipity and luck? I suppose you can have bad luck. The most important thing is to be engaged, pay attention, give yourself a chance.