Is the universe out to get me? Why yes!

One of the great mysteries of the universe – which I’ve never really understood – is how everyday life always seems to kick up adverse challenges out of nowhere. I can’t ever get carparks or go anywhere that might form a queue without something happening to make it difficult. Every time.

Writing fuel!

1.       I’ll often look for a carpark and find one that has another vehicle awkwardly parked slightly in the way. I’ll spend several minutes carefully manoeuvering around the other car and into the space. As soon as I’m settled, the car I’d manoeuvered around leaves.

2.       If I back out of a parking space in a supermarket, the vehicle directly opposite instantly also backs out, forcing me to stop to avoid a collision. Every time. Every supermarket.

3.       If I’m approaching an ATM or a customer counter of some kind, it’ll always be clear. As I near it, people always dart in from the left or right ahead of me, cutting me off and creating an ‘instant queue’ so I have to wait ten minutes to complete 10 seconds worth of transaction.

4.       As a variant, sometimes I’ll be walking along a footpath behind two or three people, with an ATM in sight ahead. All of them, every time, are also heading for the same ATM. Curiously, this only happens to me – I don’t see any signs of ‘mobile queues’ roaming the streets to taunt other people.

5. I’ll be trying to cross a road on foot, or trying to get out of my driveway in my car, and the street is always totally empty except for a solitary vehicle that is precisely timed to collide with me if I don’t wait for it. Every time.

It’s odd how often this happens. Anybody would think the universe was out to get me. Does this also happen to you? Let me know in the comments.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2019

18 thoughts on “Is the universe out to get me? Why yes!

  1. I have two examples to go with yours above, variations on the theme:

    1. Waiting at a STOP sign to turn onto a highway. Traffic won’t be heavy, but will come along just often enough to keep you from turning.

    2. In a store parking lot, regardless of how crowded the parking lot is, more often than not when you are trying to get into your car and leave the people in the parking space(s) next to you will also be trying to leave.

    #2 happens often enough that it made me wonder if it could be made the subject of statistical analysis. The bias interpretation of the phenomenon would be the degree of irritation. I don’t notice the times I get in the car and go; I DO notice when I’m irritated.

    Nonetheless I suspect there is some sort of quantum phenomenon at work. Perhaps a function of the relationship of quantum phenomena to consciousness?

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    1. Oh yes, I get all of those too! It’s intriguing – and I guess must also be true in the US – but the issue of (1) occurs to me more often when I’m visiting my home town of Napier. It’s only got about a fifth the population of the greater Wellington district and the traffic densities are lower – meaning that the traffic strings out just enough to make it almost impossible to get out of stop signs. Worse, nobody gives way. Whereas in Wellington it travels in clumps, and they’ll let you in. My former brother-in-law, who’s Dutch, tells me that Napier traffic is by far the most difficult he’s had to deal with – and this is someone who’s routinely driving in the Netherlands!

      The issue of (2) and whether it’s bias-perception or not interests me greatly. No question that we certainly only notice things that are an irritation, such as somebody instantly opening their car door next as you open yours in a supermarket carpark. However, a few years back my aunt noticed it happening to her in supermarket carparks and actually collected data – and yes, it happened more often than not. It might still be random, given that random by nature includes clustering. Or is there more to it? Interesting question, and as you say, it might well extend into how consciousness works. I should start collecting empirical data.

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      1. Actually I’ve gone as far as thinking about what data to collect. Visits to a particular car park? Maybe approximate distance to the actual destination (e.g., store)? Certainly a y/n for adjacent-space occurrence. (This is my inner nerd coming out. Beware!) Might be interesting to do antipodal studies!

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  2. I have obviously done something to attract exactly the same kind of attention from the universe. My particular variation is always picking the wrong checkout line at the grocery store. The one that looks shortest ends up having the person who needs a price check or who counts out change coin by coin…

    A slight variation of this is something that has caused one of the few fights my husband and I have had in decades of marriage: the phenomenon that there are always parking spaces on the OTHER side of the street from the one you’re driving down. He insists that this is somehow statistically more likely than spaces being on the side you’re on. I think that’s ridiculous. How do the spaces know which side you’re on? He claims it has something to do with the popularity of the direction you’re going, but I don’t buy it for a minute. However, the frustration is the same, no matter where the phenomenon originates.

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