Among others, I have two identical shirts. One has a slightly dodgy button on the left sleeve, you know, that button that closes the gap between the cuff and the mid-forearm.
The other morning, I stood at my wardrobe having decided to go with the pale-blue, double-cuffed shirt. I selected one of the two on offer, but then chose the other one, deciding that the day’s events were sufficiently important to warrant an unblemished cuff-button.
The morning’s drizzle also required a raincoat to be donned.
That evening, while running for an 87 bus having popped to Robert Dyas after work, the shirt caught on a shard of metal on a lamppost on Whitehall, tearing the sleeve to the point that the shirt now resides in the bin. Half an hour beforehand, I’d paused outside work wondering whether or not to go back in for the raincoat, deciding against it given the balminess of the evening.
My question is this: if I’d selected the dodgy-buttoned shirt twelve hours earlier, or if I’d popped back in for the raincoat, would the shirt now be in the bin? Or would I still be the owner of a twin set of shirts? To what extent do tiny decisions in life affect things downstream?
On a much grander scale, if I’d not managed to achieve the B-B-E A-level grades that Newcastle-upon-Tyne, my university of choice, was demanding of me, I would have instead gone to Swansea University, would not have been able to choose a rather niche third-year module that Newcastle had to offer, would not have gone on to study for a Masters in that very subject at Warwick, would not have joined the first company I worked for (for they specifically targeted the Warwick course), and I would never have met my wife who worked for that very company.
For the record, I no longer own any identical shirts.