9 September 2008

What If …..?

Do you ever think, ‘what if I’d done that instead of that’? I do. What if I hadn’t replied to that ad for IBM ? What if I hadn’t gone to night school that night and bought some guy a couple of pints who then offered me a job? What if I’d asked the girl who was standing beside my wife-to-be to dance instead of Fiona?

I’m a great fan of that movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, where the movie splits with one sub-plot showing what happens to her life when she catches a train and the other sub-plot showing what happens to her life if,  in a split second, something happens and she misses the train. One story ends in happiness, the other despair. In her case of course, something caused her to miss the train. Was it fate?

So what would have happened if  I hadn’t got the job at Chrysler (my first job after leaving school) because of a set of freak circumstances?  I might have got a better job in a bank as a stockbroker and become a hugely successful fund manager (my dream job). I might have got a much worse job. Who knows? What I do know is that all my other jobs happened because of my first job at Chrysler, so thanks to the instructors on the selection course who took my name of the final shortlist because they’d thought I’d gone home. Amazed to see me still there at the end and hugely embarrassed by their mistake, I got the final place.

And what would have happened if, when looking down from the balcony in the Queen’s Union dance hall in Glasgow, I’d asked one of the two girls who stood beside Fiona to dance instead of the girl who became my wife? I seem to recall that I made my mind up which one to ask when I actually reached the three of them in the middle of the dance floor. What route would my life have taken if Fiona had refused to dance, because in Glasgow you just keep asking until some girl accepts! 

Would I still be here, I mean alive, if I’d left Ibrox Park a few seconds before I actually did on January 2nd 1971? If I’d left just a few seconds earlier I would have been in the middle of the stairway which became the scene of a major disaster instead of at the top of it. I survived, just, but I would most certainly be dead if I hadn’t looked for some friends to say goodbye to.

And on a happier theme, what if I had not gone over to a friend’s table at an IBM conference? I was on the way to the loo but made a detour because I saw my friend out of the corner of my eye sitting beside a gorgeous girl in a stunning black and white polka dot dress. We met up and the rest is history so they say.

Some people say you should never look back. Your life has taken the path which was chosen for you and nothing would have changed it. Bollocks ! I can think of a hundred situations which would have changed my life significantly if I’d simply made a different split-second decision or had been in a slightly different place at a slightly different time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Never mind spotty dresses - what about hair clips and tumbling tresses? Sliding doors indeed.