September 11th: Clare Balding

I don’t believe in fate.  If your life has already been  mapped out, then each decision you think you’re making has already been preordained,  leaving you with absolutely no control over your life.  There is no “decide”, “choose” or “select” (at least not by you).  You’re a character in a computer game with a spotty 14-year old choosing whether you follow the white rabbit or go to work in Shanghai for 3 years.

But then I read the wise words of Clare Balding: “Fate is what happens to you; destiny is what you do with it.”.  Darth would have been proud.

So, Clare, fate deals you the hand?  Destiny is deciding whether or not to play it?

The finality of “destiny” still implies a single course; I don’t have one of those either.  No fate; no destiny.  Just me and Bronwen, floating through China.

Apologies if this philosophical rambling is expected to go anywhere.

Sunday was supposed to be an alcohol-free day.  But if fate led to a mid-afternoon game of pool going on in Masse (1 minute away) and fate introduced a “buy one get one free” deal on the beer,  it was surely my destiny to partake?  And if our meal out on Sunday evening was in a restaurant where the only draught beer on offer was fated to be Guinness, what am I supposed to do?  (And Alfie’s is a strange old restaurant – a bit like finding a kitchen and some leather sofas in the middle of Moss Bros or Suits You.  I’m convinced the suits for sale at the back of the restaurant must by now have acquired the delightful aromas of food and smoke.).

The intent for Monday evening was a few quiet drinks with people from work, but fate offered the opportunity of meeting Rachel, Andrea and Craig too.  So our destiny was to have all 13 of us meet up in an Indian restaurant  on a (usually quiet) Monday night, scaring the staff into insisting we collate our orders into one handy list (“3 chicken tikka massalas, 2 lamb biryanis, etc, etc”) before the bemused waiter could enter the order into Lotus Land’s antiquated computer-based ordering system (think of a 1990’s mobile phone connected to a 1990’s PC).

I think I’ve laboured this for long enough.  Like I said: I don’t believe in fate.

I’m too much of a control freak.

Karma though – that’s another story.

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