One person’s belief is another person’s superstition. This became clear during one of my classes for my anthropology degree. I’ve never been one to avoid black cats or walking under ladders. I do have a tendency to avoid cracks in the pavement, but that’s more a mild OCD than superstition. It’s been very difficult to find something that I believe that others would call superstition, but that’s why my opening sentence is so true.
Yesterday, my father and his wife had a combined 70th/60th birthday party with a hippy theme. Fiona and I decided to fly up so that she wouldn’t lose valuable assignment-writing time on the road. We’d taken time out of our schedules to scrounge bits and pieces for our costumes and were looking forward to catching up with all my relatives.
As we were waiting in line to be checked by Security, Fiona swore. We were coming back the following day so we only had carry on luggage and she’d forgotten to remove her nail scissors. Sure enough, they were taken away before we were allowed into the airport.
We rushed through to our gate lounge and found that our flight wasn’t listed. It had been cancelled due to fog at our destination. The airline instead gave us lunch vouchers and booked us on a flight that didn’t arrive until after the party had started.
“That’s two,” Fiona told me. “I’m not looking forward to the third problem.”
“There won’t be a third one,” I said, ever optimistic.
“There will. Good things and bad things always come in threes.”
Even after two years in Bhutan, where I discovered the power of superstition, I scoffed at the idea. “Only if you want them to.” I left her to settle in a quiet corner of the airport where she could continue working on her assignment and spent the next 8 hours wandering around the small airport, returning regularly to the bookshop. It didn’t have Dragon Bones in stock, I noticed.
Fiona was still nervous when we got on the plane and even I breathed a sigh of relief when we actually took off. Mum would pick us up from the airport and rush us to the hotel where we’d get changed and hopefully arrive at the party in time for dinner. The plane began it’s descent through the clouds and I caught Fiona’s nerves. If there was a third problem, it had to come soon.
Suddenly, the plane picked up speed and angled upwards. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the flight attendant announced, “the cloud cover is too low and your safety is our first priority so we’re heading back to Sydney.”
Fiona looked across at me and didn’t need to say “I told you so.” One person’s superstition is another person’s belief.
What belief do you have that others might call superstition?