I attend a university very far from my family. Like on the other side of the country far. As such, it necessitates a lengthy plane ride home when family gatherings arise. All of this is to say that I am writing this piece while sitting on an airplane, returning from the holidays spent with my relatives, staring out the window at what I am guessing is Nebraska. I brought a book to read, but instead I’m preoccupied with another person sitting perhaps eight rows ahead of me and across the aisle.
It’s a girl, and a beautiful one at that. By outward appearances, just my type. I first noticed her while lounging in the gate waiting for boarding to start. As much as people hate to admit it, we are constantly judging the people around us. Not necessarily intentionally, or with malice, but you’d be lying if you said you don’t notice who is around you and make conclusions about them — especially with women. We all have a basic “hot-or-not” snap barometer in our heads that’s perpetually sifting through the women that we see around us. It just happens, and it’s typically pretty quick, and pretty superficial. I’m not here to talk about the ethics of this phenomenon, though. The point is, this girl in the gate definitely registered as attractive as soon as I saw her.
We both (I think) noticed each other in the gate, as evidenced by a smile that she gave me when I pulled out my book to pass the time. In my mind, I knew that if something were to ever happen, I needed to use this half-hour before boarding started to actually talk to this girl.
But I didn’t do that. I bitched out. I developed a “perfect situation” in my head that I was hoping would play out. How classically fantastic would it be if this smile in the gate turned into her sitting next to me on the plane, a place where we could really chat. That would be akin to a smack in the face from fate, the perfect situation that I couldn’t possibly fumble. It would be so clear. So, I told myself that I would wait for the plane to board and hope for the best.
Now I’m sitting next to an aggressively impatient businessman pretending to be a big shot despite being in economy like the rest of us plebeians. Next to him, along the aisle, is an unassuming older Jewish man who passed out two minutes after taxiing began. Hot girl? Undoubtedly out of reach. She’ll be exiting the aircraft a good minute or two before me once we land, given her seat, and so for all intents and purposes I will never see her again.
Why? Because I decided to let random chance take the wheel. I hoped that her ticket miraculously read 27E, and that she’d be sitting right here next to me. But here’s the thing: In the airplane of life, the hot girl’s seat is never going to be the one next to yours. Life will always give you the middle-aged mom, the possibly contagious child on their first-ever plane ride, or the smelly fat guy before it hands you the hot girl.
No, random chance is not to be trusted. You have to make your own luck, seize the opportunity when it arises — all those shitty clichés. It’s not good enough to wait for the “perfect situation,” because it’s not going to happen. You have to create it yourself.
So here I am, writing down these thoughts into a crap article instead of figuring out when to text gate girl upon touchdown. Instead of deciding whether to take her to a downtown or uptown bar. Instead of playing the game that I know I’m capable of. So don’t be like me, sitting here with my metaphorical thumb up my metaphorical ass. Excuse random chance and make your own game.
Because, in the end, isn’t that what being confident is all about? The ability to insert yourself into “fate” and know that it will all work out in your favor? We all want some things to simply happen for us, but maybe that’s not the best approach. Maybe making it yourself is the real way to success..