For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has asked us to base our posts on the subject of making small, uneventful choices. She doesn’t want us to focus on big, important, significant choices, like where to go to college, who to marry, what career to pursue, whether or not to have kids, where to live, etc.
No, she’s talking about “uneventful” choices, the kind we make almost every day, day in and day out, without giving them much thought. But is there really such a thing as an “uneventful” choice? Is any choice we make, no matter how small it may seem at the time, truly inconsequential? Has Linda never heard the term “the butterfly effect”?
What is “the butterfly effect”? Thank you for asking. You’ve probably heard an analogy like this: a butterfly fluttering its wings over a flower in China can cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. The butterfly effect is an idea that says that a small change can make much bigger changes happen; that one small incident can have a big impact in the future. The term is often used to emphasize the outsized significance of tiny occurrences.
I experienced my own personal example of the butterfly effect. I woke up late one day for a very important morning meeting with a prospective client and made a choice to pour my morning coffee into a travel mug and drink it in the car on the way to work, rather than to drink it at home before getting in my car for my morning commute.
On the drive, I held up the mug full of hot coffee to my mouth just as the car hit a bump in the road. I spilled a significant amount of very hot coffee on my lap, causing me to accidentally press my right foot hard on the car’s accelerator pedal, which caused my car to slam into the back of the car in front of me. My car’s airbag inflated so hard into my face that it broke my nose.
Needless to say, I didn’t make it to my meeting that morning and my firm lost that very important client and I got fired from my job. I was unable, for more than two years, to find another job. My wife left me and took our kids with her, and I wound up living on the streets, homeless.
My life was ruined due to what seemed like a small, “uneventful” choice I made to pour hot coffee into a mug and drink it while driving to that very important meeting at work.
So I ask the question, is any choice we make truly uneventful?
By the way, this whole personal butterfly effect story I just told you about never happened. It was complete bullshit that I totally made up for this post. Hopefully my choice to spin this yarn will prove to be uneventful.