finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Thursday, August 3, 2017

50/50 chance

As I was getting dressed this morning, getting ready to leave for an audition, NPR told me there was a 50/50 chance of rain. I stood in my kitchen thinking a moment. 50/50. Do I take an umbrella or not? I hate carrying umbrellas. Truly I do. So when the odds are in my favor, I tend to risk it. But this was 50/50. No one's favor. Hmm.

"No umbrella!" I boldly declared and off I went.

Ninety minutes later, sitting in the train heading home, torrents of rain pelting agains the train car, I am talking to my mom.

"But it was a 50% chance of rain! Why wouldn't you take your umbrella?" she asked. My mom carries 3 umbrellas in her car at all times: glove compartment, back seat and trunk. Because you never know where you will be in the car when you need one. I never carry umbrellas. I often get caught in rain.

"Well there was also a 50% chance of no rain!" I counter, worried as the skies look darker the more north we travel. I am gonna get so wet, I think to myself, certainly not admitting it to my mother.

I often live my life like this. I take chances. I tend to live on the risky side. Hopeful, I might even say, spinning it. What's the worst that could happen? Now sometimes this is not all that smart. Sometimes it is downright stupid, but when the odds are even.....I often think, why not?

Fifteen minutes later, I am about to step out into the deluge full of my odds and free of my umbrellas, when a woman sitting next to me, who I never said boo to the whole trip, suddenly asks if I need an umbrella? The train doors open. Time is not on my side. This is now urgent. I have an opportunity to walk home dry, but only moments to make that happen.

"But what about you? I ask, one eye on my stop. "What about... the rest of your life?" I ask perhaps more profoundly than intended. I don't think I can honestly offer to return it to her.

"I have extras. Here take it," she says, as she thrusts the umbrella in my hands, her daughter looking on in surprise, probably worried she will be the one getting wet later now.

"Thank you so much!" I shout as I run out the closing train doors. "A perfect gift on a rainy day!!" I yell as the train pulls out of the station.


As I step outside and push up the umbrella, I soon realize it is crap. It doesn't stay up and is bent down on one side. She so generously gave me a crap umbrella. "What about the rest of your life!" I remember asking her, now laughing. She'll be fine for the rest of her life without this umbrella---not to negate her generosity because honestly, it was such a kind gesture I think, as the wind flips it up to upside-down mode.  I stop and push it back into regular umbrella mode. The wind keeps flipping it up and I surrender, holding an upside-down umbrella, getting about 50% wet.

Oh well. You win some. You lose some.