“That’s really random.” Awkward silence. “Wow, he’s like, so random.” Disapproving tone. “Yeah, it’s a bit random but I like it.” Pleasantly surprised tone.
Random, random, randomness. Once, I knew a guy who would express anything out of the ordinary as being random. And it always had a negative connotation. The word random, when he used it was akin to: Weird, Unpopular, Something-I-don’t-like-cos-it-makes-me-feel-uncomfortable-but-can’t-explain it.
Personally, I think the word random can be over-used. What are we really trying to say? And if something does happen and it is – or seems – authentically random, who are we to condemn or judge this because if it’s truly random, isn’t it out of our control?
But, see – now I don’t quite believe in randomness very much.
Sure, some things that happen are out of our control. And don’t get me wrong – obviously randomness can be too. But the more I think about it, the more I think randomness doesn’t really exist.
Like, isn’t it just a product of the opportunities presented to us that are relevant to our position in life at that time?
And, to a more philosophical degree, how can we believe in random chance – a dice rolled, an amusement park game that shakes people up and down and throws their loose change down in ‘random’ spades – when it’s clear the earth being here, and us being here, and me being here to blog to you right now, is no random thing. It’s purposive.
Call me a philosopher. (I’m not. I can hardly spell the word, be it not for the annoying perfection of Spellcheck.) Call me a doofus. (Fair enough) Call me a late night blogger but I don’t actually believe in Randomness.
Why am I thinking this?
In a nutty nutshell, I went to meet a friend for what I thought would be a cup of tea late this afternoon. As I walked up to meet her I noticed she was wearing a costume. It was cute: a little French looking 18th century little dress outfit with cap sleeves and corset. She was surrounded by three friends who also appeared to be wearing ‘costumes’ as well. There was a friar and a belly dancer, amongst it.
“Hello,” I said.
“Would you care to fire-wave with us later?” said this friendly, historical-appreciating group of people.
“No thank you,” I replied, citing fear as a reason for my decline.
Then, I discovered that my friend – and her friends – were actually taking photos. In their outfits. And would I like to join them?
I had four friendly faces looking at me and I could smell their hope: Oh come on! they were thinking. Let her not be a wimp!
So, I wasn’t. Or tried not to be.
“Sure,” I said awkwardly. “I’ll wear something.”
What would they give me to wear? Did they have ample supply of costumes on them? Why yes, actually – they were costume designers.
Before I knew it they were helping me put on the outfit they chose for me to wear.
Being a girl, I was slightly surprised when they pulled out some chain mail armour. It weighed 12 kilos (“That would be light, for back then,” explained the knowledgeable maker of this armour who had lovingly spent 60 hours in total crafting and knitting this real steel formidable cloak.)
I wore an oversize brown tshirt, then the armour. Belt was tightened (Armour is so unforgiving by the way. It’s like a TV camera, adds kilos to one’s weight) and a realistic shield (it was pretty) was provided.
Sunglasses on, as to make me not forget that I wasn’t, in fact, a knight from King Arthur’s court and down we amble to the bay, where we take photos.
It was remarkable.
A highlight was a ‘distinguished’ looking gentleman and his ‘distinguished’ looking white terrier walking past. He looked worried, even the dog looked worried.
Who are these people? the dog wondered, through large but not entirely unsnobbish brown eyes as he surveyed our whimsical troupe.
Then the owner whistled for the dog, giving it a look to say – Get away! These people are Random – and off they walked, past our little segment.
Getting the armour off was harder than getting on. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who are claustrophobic.
So, yeah – that’s the end of the story. I took the armour off, said goodbye and headed home. My friend and I will catch up another time and this time we might have a coffee instead.
Now that I’ve told you this charming little story, I would like to be audacious enough to return to the original topic: Randomness. I don’t think it exists.
Today: having this unexpected opportunity to don real armour and take advantage of the moment and be surrounded by people who danced like no-one was watching: I don’t think that’s random. I call that a blessing.