I don't believe in fate. What I believe in is timing. Sometimes, the latter can look an awful lot like the former.
Yesterday was our monthly maintenance day at work. I had a pretty light list of things to do. I got to work in time for the 1:00 start.
I had two hardware technicians show up. One, to replace a failed disk, and the other to look into an unrecognized system board. The disk replacement went quickly and without incident.
We had to wait about 25 minutes before we could look at the system board. The backups on that server were running long, and we needed to make sure they completed.
Once we got the go-ahead, the system board was fixed in about 30 minutes.
Next I had a few patches to install on a couple servers. This took about 45 minutes.
Then I spent about an hour waiting for our database administrator to start his stuff up and check everything out. He finished this around 3:50.
At 4:00, I spent a few minutes talking to my boss, and then I left.
Meanwhile, there was a young Army guy who was having a day of his own, I don't know any of the details of his day. Perhaps he was running late, and therefore speeding. Or maybe he was distracted by something. Maybe he had to pee. Maybe he was speeding just because he was young and that's what young people do. Whatever.
At 4:10, after my light turned green, I pulled from Bunsen Parkway onto Hurstborne, preparing to turn left. Also at 4:10, the Army kid was barreling down Hurstborne. He saw the light turn red in front of him, he saw several crossing cars in front of him, and he tried to stop.
He ended up stopping by plowing into the front of my Monte Carlo. Spun me about 30 degrees, I figure.
If any one of a dozen things that I did yesterday had taken just a few seconds more or less time, I wouldn't have been in that intersection at 4:10. If any one of an unknown number of things had happened differently for that kid yesterday, he wouldn't have been speeding toward that intersection at 4:10.
But things happened the way they happened, and they took as much time as they took, and so we were both there, in the same place, at the same time.
It's hard not to think about how many things had to play out just right for that accident to happen. I was the second car at my light. If I'd been the first, then the car behind me would have been hit. Or if the kid had started to slow down a half-second later, he'd have hit the car in front of me. He was definitely going to hit another car. There was no doubt of that. He was going too fast. There were too many cars in front of him.
If he'd started to slow down a half-second sooner, he'd have smacked into the door of my car, right where I was sitting.
It could have been a lot worse.
I don't believe in fate. Fate is a silly concept. A way for cowards to shift blame, avoiding consequences for their own actions, and a way for weaklings to hide from their own responsibilities and potential.
I don't believe in it, but sometimes it seems pretty damn believable.